CEDARBURG, Wis. - Should masks still be mandated in schools? It's a contentious topic -- drawing a great deal of interest from the community-- and is up for debate Tuesday, April 27 at the Cedarburg school board meeting.
While the board is set to discuss whether or not to keep the district's current mask mandate in place for the rest of the school year, there is no guarantee they will take action Tuesday night.
Still, the agenda item had parents on both sides speaking out on Monday, April 26.
First implemented in July of 2020, then reaffirmed in October, students and staff are required to wear masks while inside Cedarburg School District buildings and on school grounds.
Tuesday evening, the school board is set to discuss the measure again -- and the topic is dividing parents.
"It's time really to move masks to be optional," Deb Ingrassia said.
"Masks should not be optional in a school setting," said Kate Kasprzak.
Kate Kasprzak has a kindergarten student at Parkview Elementary School.
She said until children can be vaccinated, there is no reason to entertain the idea of removing the mask mandate and urges the board to follow CDC guidelines.
"The prevention measures in place today have been successful and effective," Kasprzak said. "Do the right thing, stay the course for the rest of the school year."
A change.org petition calling for the mandate to stay in place has racked up more than 1,100 signatures.
"There are essentially 30 days left of the school year. The children are wearing masks. Nobody is complaining," she said.
On the opposite side...
"It's time to move past this," Ingrassia said.
Ingrassia has started a petition of her own.
"In the classroom, once they're seated, they're distanced," she said. "They should be able to take their mask off and be able to focus fully on their classrooms without having that interference."
The parent of two high school students said she believes the state's mask mandate being lifted is reason for this one to eliminated too.
"And really asking for the schools to allow us parents the choice," she said.
Cedarburg High School
Both women are planning to speak during Tuesday's meeting — it's set for 6:30 p.m. at the CHS Field House.
The meeting agenda can be found HERE.
A spokeswoman with the Cedarburg School District provided the following statement to FOX6 News on Monday:
"The Cedarburg School District has had safety protocols in place since the start of the 2020-21 school year. Part of those safety protocols requires students and staff to wear face coverings when in school buildings and on school grounds. With the recent state-issued mask mandate change, the Cedarburg School District has in place the District face-covering guidelines that were approved by the School Board originally on July 29, 2020, and then reaffirmed on October 28, 2020.
"The Cedarburg School Board is updated on the school district safety protocols and mitigation measures each month at the regular monthly Board meetings. The next school Board meeting is on April 27th at 6:30 pm. At that time, the Board will review the face-covering topic, among other mitigation measures in place, as part of our regular safety protocol updates. Although Board action is not required, the Board may take action to modify current mitigation measures. Any information pertaining to the April 27, 2021 Board meeting agenda can be found on the district’s website.
"We understand the ongoing complexities surrounding this topic. Our first priority is always to the health and well-being of our students and staff. The District will continue to make decisions that ensure access, quality, and safety for all students and staff."