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Officials: MSD of Mt. Vernon now requiring masks for start of school

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 8:44 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2021 at 8:08 PM CDT
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MT. VERNON, Ind. (WFIE) - Officials with the Metropolitan School District of Mount Vernon are now saying they are going to start the school year requiring masks.

Last month, schools in Posey County announced masks would be optional when classes started again this month. But a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases made school officials change their minds.

[PREVIOUS: Posey Co. Health Dept. recommending mask requirement at schools]

Administrators say they knew it may not be a popular decision, but it was the clear choice to increase student safety.

“We have some parents who are concerned about students wearing masks, we have other parents who are happy that we’re wearing masks, just like you see on the news - you have a lot of division,” Dr. Matt Thompson, Superintendent for the MSD of Mount Vernon said. “But bottom line, we just want to make sure that kids are healthy and safe.”

On Sunday night, county health officials received word the Indiana State Department of Health was upgrading Posey County to “red” status.

[READ MORE: EVSC changing mask rules for start of school]

It was hard for them to change their recommendation, but they know the students are up to the challenge.

“Oh, it’s very tough - I mean, no one wants to wear masks - I mean, I didn’t want to send kids back to school in masks,” Dr. Kyle Rapp with the Posey County Health Department said. “I’ve got a son who’s in high school with special needs, so he’s going to have to wear a mask in school, so it’s tough for everyone. But he is able to do it.”

All of this creates complications for athletics. Mount Vernon’s principals say, fortunately, most of the sports practicing right now are outside, like football.

[READ MORE: WCSC to require masks in school buildings through August]

School officials hope this will all be temporary. For the time being, administrators say they are grateful to have the support of not only the staff, but also the students.

“I’ve got such a great staff here and such good students that they roll with the punches and take care of a lot of things so that I can do the things I have to do,” Mount Vernon High School Principal Kyle Jones said.

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