MAIZE, Kan. (KSNW) – The USD 266 Maize Board of Education held a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. to discuss increased COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

The board voted 5-2 to require all staff and students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade to wear face masks during school, when six feet of social distancing is not possible. They also voted to follow KSHSAA’s recommendation that student-athletes that test positive for COVID-19 get written clearance from a healthcare provider through an in-person health exam to begin a gradual return to physical activity.

The requirement begins on Wednesday, Sept. 8, and continues through the end of the school day on Oct. 11.

The board also strongly encourages all other unvaccinated students and staff to wear face masks when social distancing is not possible.

According to Superintendent Dr. Chad Higgins, as of September third, there were 104 confirmed positive cases among students and 20 among staff members. The district has also confirmed a total of 648 high-risk close contact cases among both students and staff.

The Maize school district has connected 25 positive student cases to exposure in school, which is more than all of last school year according to Dr. Higgins.

“We must slow the spread before our current situation worsens and we risk significant changes to the learning environment,” said Dr. Higgins.

The board will meet again on Oct. 11 where they will rediscuss the mandate.