CEDARBURG, Wis. - UPDATE: Just before midnight, during a meeting that lasted more than five hours, the Cedarburg School Board voted to keep its mask mandate in place for the rest of this school year while inside school buildings. While outside, masks are not required.
The board approved the following on Tuesday, April 27:
"Face coverings are required to be worn by all individuals when in school buildings and while transporting students in District provided or contracted vehicles until further notice. When in an unoccupied room, or while eating or drinking, the mask may be removed. When outside of school buildings, masks ARE OPTIONAL."
Currently, these requirements also apply to summer school, but the board may choose to take up this issue again at next month's board meeting.
The topic at Tuesday night's Cedarburg school board meeting was whether masks should continue to be required in schools. Only minutes after getting underway, the meeting was paused because several people in attendance refused to wear masks.
The meeting remained at a standstill for more than 30 minutes, until the board eventually called it back into order. During the public comment portion, more than 40 community members addressed the board.
The board heard from some who believe masks should be optional in the classroom and others who feel it would be unsafe to remove the mask requirement.
"While other districts are just now going back to in-person learning for the first time, why are we even considering stopping the masks? We all want to go back to normal. This is not the time to let down our guard," said Dr. Katherine Burrows.
"Masking should be a parental choice," said Deb Ingrassia. "You're the leaders we depend on to make tough decisions in the best interest of our children. Please do not wait to see what nearby districts are doing. We don't need outside entities telling us as parents how we should think and care for ourselves and our children."
"Kids under 16 can't get the vaccine yet. We are not there," said Mike Maher. "The county public health department, the Wisconsin DHS, the CDC and countless others all recommend schools keep their policies in place."
"Imposing mask wearing and social distancing on our children by fear mongering neurotic adults is hurting our children in every way -- emotionally, socially and physically," said another community member.
Ahead of the board's decision, Cedarburg School District Superintendent Todd Bugnacki urged the board, with only about 30 school days left this year, to keep its mask requirement in place.