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Columbia schools announces mask requirement for students

Columbia Public Schools says it will expect students and staff to wear masks in the fall, with some exceptions.

The district announced the news in an email to parents Monday. It says there will be an expectation for students and staff to wear masks while in public school buildings. There will be exceptions for some students who are unable to wear masks.

Also in the email, the district is extending the deadline for families to decide whether they want their kids to learn online or in-person this fall. That deadline is now July 6.

“It may give me an opportunity to come back to our team and say it may make more sense to just delay it a little bit,” said Superintendent Peter Stiepleman in a Zoom meeting with parents on Saturday.

The majority of the parents who spoke on Saturday supported requiring masks, as long as there were exceptions for people with special needs. CPS plans to give every staff member masks, and is considering face shields.

(This story was last updated at 5:25 a.m. Tuesday.)

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