JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - The Departments of Health and Senior Services and Elementary and Secondary Education modified their COVID-19 guidance for close contacts and assessing exposures in school settings.
New CDC guidance on the effectiveness of wearing face masks has helped facilitate the changes.
Proper mask wearing may now prevent individuals from being identified as close contacts.
This new guidance will apply to Missouri K-12 schools that have implemented a mask mandate.
According to DHSS and DESE, students and staff wearing a mask properly at school and are exposed to an individual with COVID-19 will not have to quarantine, but should self-monitor for symptoms and stay home at the first sign of illness.
Individuals, students and staff, should continue to wear a face mask at all times.
The individual that tests positive for COVID-19 is still required to isolate at home.
If schools do not mandate mask wearing or individuals do not wear a mask properly, then close contacts will need to quarantine at home for 14 days if they are exposed to COVID-19.
DHSS and DESE made the announcement of the new guidance during Governor Mike Parson’s COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.
“Students and their families struggle to keep up with coursework in a distanced model of instruction when students are temporarily quarantined, and many districts have been forced to suspend in-person learning opportunities after large numbers of school staff members were directed to quarantine,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven.
In addition to mask wearing, social distancing and proper hygiene is recommended in combating the spread of COVID-19.
To view the updated Missouri K-12 school guidance, click here.