“Maskphalt” (Erik Gunn | Wisconsin Examiner)
An attempt by the Menomonie School Board to roll back a recent COVID-19 mask requirement for elementary school students this week failed, leaving the requirement in place.
Board members voted 5-3 against the proposal for an optional masking policy Monday night. The proposal was made by a board member who has consistently voted against stronger pandemic mitigation measures in the school district.
The vote came as the district is addressing a legal challenge brought by the parents of a first-grader. They are seeking stronger mitigation requirements to protect their daughter, who because she has Down syndrome is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
The board enacted a mask requirement Sept. 27 for pupils in grades K-6 in the school district. After that vote, Thomas Pearson, the girl’s father, said the family planned to let their daughter attend school in person.
They reversed that decision when the school board scheduled a special meeting less than a week later to vote on a proposal to weaken the mask rule. Acting on their behalf, their lawyer, Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, has petitioned the district to strengthen its mitigation requirements and charged the board with violating federal laws protecting the education rights of children with intellectual disabilities.
The first meeting to roll back the rule was canceled. Monday’s school board vote was on a second attempt to replace the mask rule.
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