Heights to continue mask policy after split vote
The Jackson Heights USD 335 Board of Education on Monday narrowly voted down a motion to end the district’s policy that requires students and staff to wear face masks to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
During the board’s regular monthly meeting, the board voted 3-4 against a motion by board member Melinda Wareham to end the district’s mask policy after District Superintendent Adrianne Walsh recommended keeping the policy — which has been receiving a monthly review by district officials — in place for at least another month.
In voicing their opposition to keeping the policy in place, board members — including Wareham, Neal Keeler and Doug Amon — said students and staffers who wished to continue to wear masks could do so, but Wareham, who has been vocal about her opposition to the mandate in recent months, stated that there is a “downside” to wearing masks for protection.
“We’ve got people all hyped up about wearing it, and they’re… falsely feeling safe,” she said. “I think they’re probably going to get the COVID anyway, whether they wear or don’t wear the mask. The good news is, they’re probably not going to die.”
Wareham also recommended that district officials distribute “propaganda about the downside of wearing masks,” without going into any detail as to what that “downside” might be. She also stated that those who have “a different point of view” on wearing masks should not have to wear them.
Keeler agreed, saying that continuing to enforce the mask policy amounted to “punishing” those who did not want to wear the mask for whatever reason and citing recent state legislation intended to override executive orders issued by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, including mask mandates.
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