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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Missoula school board to vote on whether to continue mask mandate

Updated: October 13, 2021 at 4:45 PM MDT
Missoula’s school board of trustees voted Tuesday to maintain mandatory public school mask mandates.

The Missoula School Board is scheduled to vote Tuesday evening on whether or not to change its mandatory face covering guidelines.

Missoula school trustees will make the decision as local COVID-19 case counts continue to rise. Health officials say COVID is saturating the Missoula community and breaking case records.

Missoula County Public School officials say the highly contagious delta variant has led to a 70% spike in positive cases in schools this year when compared to last fall’s COVID surge.

Trustees in August issued a universal mask mandate inside of all school buildings. The board was directed to review the policy following the first six weeks of instruction.

Superintendent Rob Watson recommends the board both continue the policy and establish a timeline and conditions under which they could be modified.

MCPS’s mask mandate drew hundreds of written and oral public comments, both in opposition and support of the rule when considered last summer. School districts across the state have a patchwork approach to masking policies.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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