SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield Public Schools (SPS) will be requiring students and staff to mask during its July session of Explore.

Voicemail sent from Springfield Public Schools

A decision about requiring masking beyond July 30 will be decided closer to the 2021-2022 school year.

“In our ongoing evaluation of pandemic-related data, and in anticipation of a continued surge related to holiday gatherings over the July 4 holiday, we recommended that SPS implement these additional steps through the end of July,” said Katie Towns, interim director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. “We appreciate our partnership with SPS and their willingness to adapt their protocols to best serve the public as positive cases, hospitalizations and related deaths continue to increase. It is our hope that the public will take this opportunity to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from preventable illness.”

The district listed out its reasons for requiring masking in its facilities:

  • An increase in COVID-19 positive cases among SPS students and staff throughout Explore Session 1 in June.
  • A current surge in COVID-19 positive cases in the community and region, many related to the Delta variant.
  • A current surge in local hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19.
  • An anticipated surge later this week from July 4 holiday celebrations.
  • Ongoing low vaccination rates for Greene County – currently at 38.97%

Doctor Grenity Lathan, the Springfield Public Schools Superintendent, released a statement regarding the mandatory masking:

“SPS will continue to evaluate data, in close collaboration with the health department, to determine any need for adjustments to this protocol after July 30. More information about masking and other health and safety guidance will be provided at that time. We thank the public for the understanding of our need to adapt protocols, as the pandemic continues to impact our community, in order to help ensure the health and safety of all those we serve. It is our hope that immediate, proactive efforts will positively impact our community.”

SPS said to go to its website for the latest information.