Mask Mandate Main Topic of Discussion
MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – At Wednesday night’s Marshfield School Board meeting, there was no shortage of contention as parents and community members voiced their opinions on the board’s mask mandate.
At the August 11 board meeting, the board voted to require masks for the start of the 2021-22 school year. The decision was voted in unanimously and gave superintendent Dr. Ryan Christianson the ability to stop requiring masks if it was deemed safe enough to do so.
A group of parents showed their displeasure for the mandate on the first day of school as they were seen holding signs on the sidewalk outside of Marshfield High School.
The board’s meeting was receiving enough attention that the board decided to move it to the Marshfield High School Fieldhouse in order to accommodate all that wished to attend.
Prior to the event, a protest took place with parents holding signs outside of the high school both for and against the mandate.
The public comment section of the meeting was also filled with commentary both for and against the mask mandate.
The board did not enter into a debate with the parents as the session was intended purely for public comments which lasted almost three hours.
One community member and medical professional stepped forward and told people who aren’t for the mandate that she understands their frustration but hoped to achieve a joint solution.
“Parents and community members who feel concerned about the mask policy, I hear you, I feel your suffering, your fear, your pain and anger,” the person said. “Please walk with us toward a hopeful solution of reducing further COVID cases so we can keep our children, our teachers and our community healthy.”
A parent said she was considering taking her child out of kindergarten at a Marshfield public school and placing him in a different school after he developed a cough while wearing masks last year while only going to school for half days.
She said when summer came, his cough disappeared. While in summer school the parent said masks were optional and they should have been for the beginning of this school year as well.
“My child has been perfectly fine all summer long,” the parent said. “In hearing that both summer school and early-start [masks] were both optional, I believe it should have been optional this time as well. As a parent I reserve the right to make these decisions for my son, not you.”
After the people present were allowed to speak, email submissions were read in. An email was read from 17 members of Marshfield Clinic who applauded the board’s decision implement a mask mandate.
Ultimately, no motion was made to discontinue the mask mandate due to the discussion heard and no vote was needed to uphold the decision.
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