Mexico School District Responds To Missouri Attorney General Schmitt’s Letter

The Mexico School District is responding to a letter sent out by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt this week regarding the implementation of COVID-19 quarantine protocols and mask requirements.

Schmitt sent Missouri school districts and public health departments letters on Tuesday asserting that they do not have the authority to implement COVID-19 quarantine protocols and mask requirements.

Advertisement

Attorney General Schmitt’s letter is based on a recent decision by a Cole County circuit court judge declaring public health orders “null and void” if they have not been approved by an elected body.

The Mexico School District says they consulted with its legal counsel and has been advised that this court ruling does not impact the ability for elected school boards to put COVID-19 mitigation measures in place that apply to district operations, including students being identified as a close contact and being excluded from school when transmission of a virus or communicable disease is possible.

In Audrain County, there are no health orders or mandates related to COVID-19 presently in place.

The Mexico School District says at this time they will continue to operate under the board-approved COVID-19 mitigation measures currently in effect.

 

Below is the complete email sent out by the Mexico School District yesterday (Thursday):

Dear Bulldog Nation,

On Tuesday, December 7th, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sent Missouri school districts and public health departments letters asserting that school districts and public health officials do not have the authority to implement COVID-19 quarantine protocols and mask requirements.  Attorney General Schmitt’s letter is based on a recent decision by a Cole County circuit court judge declaring public health orders “null and void” if they have not been approved by an elected body.

 

The Mexico School District has consulted with its legal counsel and has been advised that this court ruling does not impact the ability for elected school boards to put COVID-19 mitigation measures in place that apply to district operations, including students being identified as a close contact and being excluded from school when transmission of a virus or communicable disease is possible.

 

In Audrain County, there are no health orders or mandates related to COVID-19 presently in place.  At this time,  Mexico Public Schools will continue to operate under the board-approved COVID-19 mitigation measures currently in effect.  The mitigation efforts are part of the district’s Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan  that has been approved by the elected Mexico School District Board of Education.  These board policies approved by the elected officials enforce the district’s responsibility to protect the health of students and employees from the risks of communicable diseases.

 

The district’s internal COVID mitigation measures are routinely reviewed.  We will continue to review new guidance and any necessary recommendations from the local health department, district insurance provider, and the district’s law firm.  The school board will vote and approve any changes to the district’s COVID-19 mitigation policies.

 

Mexico Public Schools will continue to operate under the current board-approved COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

 

Our top priority will continue to be the health and safety of our students and staff.  We are committed to providing the best possible education for our students and the best possible work environment for our employees.

 

Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.

 

Respectfully,

Melissa Chastain

Superintendent of Schools