State education officials say COVID-19 has caused 62 Missouri school districts to temporarily close for one or more days in January.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said that is 12% of the state's school districts.

The Kansas City Star reports the closures come as COVID-19 cases increase because of the omicron variant, and after Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt threatened to sue districts that impose masks or quarantine mandates.

The districts said the closings were needed because of lack of staff and high student absenteeism. The Odessa school district near Kansas City is having virtual classes Thursday and Friday, rather than closing.

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