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Schools and businesses further discuss mask policies following updated CDC recommendations

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:27 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The CDC updated its masking guidance as new cases of COVID-19 continue to surge nationwide, resulting in mixed reactions from several business owners and people.

New CDC recommendations have all people wear masks indoors in high transmission areas across the country, regardless of vaccination status. A nationwide CDC transmission map shows Shawnee County at a high transmission level.

Deputy State Health Officer Joan Duwve said mask requirements should be looked at county by county. “Every local environment is different and I think you really need to take a look at what’s going on at the local level,” she said.

New guidelines also include mask wearing for teachers, staff, students and visitors in K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status.

Topeka Public Schools re-opening draft plan has all students and staff wearing masks indoors, but not outdoors -- board members will finalize policies for fall at their meeting next week.

A letter to Auburn-Washburn families said the district will monitor conditions, but will not enter the school year with any protocols in place.

Seaman schools board earlier adopted a mask-optional policy for fall -- the district said they do not plan to change it.

As we reported last week, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383′s draft plan has full onsite learning with masks encouraged but not required for those who are not vaccinated. Businesses like Hazel Hill in downtown Topeka said they may rethink their policies with the new recommendations.

In Douglas County, the public health department is encouraging residents to follow the updated guidelines as well.

“I think we should all should just play our part and do what we need to do to keep everybody safe and keep the community healthy and make sure our businesses are able to stay open and we don’t have to do like another shutdown or anything like that,” said Acting Manager for Hazel Hill Cassie Trout.

Trout said, for the most part, people have not been wearing a mask in their store. “We still do see some people coming in with masks and some people are definitely still practicing the social distancing when they stay back a way and just, you know, and again, it’s whatever people are mostly comfortable with and what they feel good doing,” she said.

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