Johnson County rescinds mask order pertaining to schools

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, sitting as the Board of Public Health, voted today, Feb. 17, 6-1 to rescind Johnson County Board of Health Order 001-21 requiring face masks on all students in sixth grade and below in school buildings. The board considered factors such as access to vaccinations, transmission levels in the community and in schools, health care capacity and strategies schools are currently taking to prevent COVID-19 transmission in their buildings among staff and students.

“Even though COVID-19 transmission levels are trending in the right direction, public health experts continue to encourage residents to utilize mitigation strategies to protect themselves and those most at risk,” said BOCC Chairman Ed Eilert.

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Director Dr. Sanmi Areola added that masks remain an effective strategy to fight COVID-19 transmission.

“Mandate or voluntary, masks are very important to managing infections,” said Dr. Areola. “We continue to strongly encourage residents to use well-fitted face masks in public settings and get vaccinated. Other strategies include washing hands often, maintaining physical distance from others and staying home when you’re sick – even if you think it’s just a cold or allergies, and finally, get tested.”

JCDHE meets regularly with school district staff and ongoing conversations with them will take place as the order is rescinded.

“Many districts have thresholds regarding transmission levels and are prepared to implement masking requirements if needed to protect staff and students,” Dr. Areola said. We support these mitigation efforts. Our goal remains the same – we want students and staff to be safe and in classrooms where they have the best opportunity to socialize and learn.”

The public health order was set to expire in May 2022, but was rescinded today, effective immediately.  Get the latest on COVID-19 transmission levels in Johnson County.

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