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Parson defends new school quarantine guidance: ‘We’ve got to address that issue’

Gov. Mike Parson defended the newly relaxed statewide guidance on quarantining for Missouri schools, saying the new standards would help cut down on the number of faculty and students facing extended quarantines. 

“We’ve got way too many in quarantine that have not been affected by the virus itself, and we’ve got to address that issue,” he said. “We’re trying to eliminate so many people being quarantined on the faculty side of it and the student side of it so they can go ahead with that education. We’ve got to figure out a way to keep kids in school and to be able to do it safely. It’s an important issue as we move forward as a state, but we also have to realize this thing is moving at a faster pace than we want it to.”

Under the new guidelines, students and staff at schools with a mask mandate who adhere to masking recommendations may be prevented from being identified as “close contacts” if they have been exposed to another individual who tests positive for COVID-19 and was also properly masked. Close contacts are required to quarantine under current guidelines, leading to a large number of students and staff moving to remote work. 

The move led some local officials, including in St. Louis County and Kansas City, to urge their schools not to follow the relaxed guidance last week. 

Parson appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to discuss COVID-19, calls to defund the police, and the 2020 elections. Parson said his focus after being elected to a full term would be the Missouri people. 

“You never know what you’re gonna do, but I think when you stay focused on your message, as we had since the beginning — what we really stood for in Missouri, and where we really put people and their values at the forefront,” he said. “My Missouri blood runs pretty thick; I believe in this state, and I love this state, and I’m going to do everything I can to help it.”

2020 elections

State Rep. Rick Francis, former state Rep. Patrick Naeger, attorney Tom Burcham, and Perry County Clerk Jared Kutz joined this week’s panel to discuss the results of the 2020 general election.

“I think Missouri voters resonated with the message that was out there from all our state representatives,” said Francis. “They want smaller government, they want lower taxes, they want to support law enforcement. I think those messages are still resonating, and that’s why the House stayed the same.”

Only one House seat flipped from red to blue this year. 

The panel also discussed Amendment 3, the recently passed ballot measure that will essentially repeal the changes made by 2018’s Clean Missouri. Kutz said the amendment had drawn curiosity and questions from Perry County voters. 

“I got a lot of questions on it, people asking me ‘what does this mean?’” he said. “I think the people were intrigued, and I think they were going out to investigate what was going on in that amendment.” 

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below.