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School district eases mask mandate after zero coronavirus cases at elementary schools level

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CAPE MASK PIC1
Blanchard Elementary ease mask mandate for students who remain in the same cohorts.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (WSIL) -- Katie Coy's daughter is a kindergartener at Blanchard Elementary, one of five elementary schools in the Cape Girardeau Public Schools District that began allowing students who remain in the same classroom to remove their masks.

Coy said with all the COVID-19 safety guidelines and precautions in place at the school, she completely trusts the district's decision.

"As long as they are hand washing which they are, and being safe and preventing the kids from coming in if they have a fever, things like that then, you know, then I think it's good for the kids so they can get back to some normalcy," said Coy.

Cape Girardeau Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Neil Glass has been battling the virus in his district since the beginning of the pandemic.

Glass said the district carefully arrived at this decision only after a steady amount of time with no coronavirus cases at the elementary school level.

"If our numbers, we are watching them very carefully if they start to rise well be right back into wearing masks.  But right now it doesn't appear to be the case and we are going to hopefully finish out the year the remainder of the year without the mask," said Glass.

Dr. Glass said elementary students are required to wear their masks in designated areas, including school buses.

"We didn't feel like it was prudent to eliminate the mask on our buses because cohorts are co-mingled.  There are kids from different ages to different groups.  It's much more difficult to contact trace at that point," said Dr. Glass.

Coy said Dr. Glass and the district are doing everything possible to keep the students safe.

"I think that they are doing a great job, I think Ella and the rest of the students are in good hands," said Coy.

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Denise Turner

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