Cedarburg schools keep mask policy for rest of year, summer

The Cedarburg School Board on Monday night, May 24 voted to keep the district's mask mandate in place for the remainder of the school year and for summer school, with masks optional outdoors. 

With just 11 days of school left – six for seniors – it's been a hot-button issue throughout the year and Monday night was no different. The question before the board was whether to require masks in Cedarburg School District buildings for the rest of the academic year and in summer school – or to lift the mandate. 

While on a much smaller scale than FOX6 News has seen during past meetings, several parents still turned out to address the board.  

"If you’re going to claim this is for the safety of the students, then I need to ask you, how are you to keep each child safe?" said Anne Murphy, parent. "Whose child is more important? The child who may be immune-compromised, or the child having anxiety attacks from masking?"

Right now, Cedarburg schools require students to wear masks while indoors and on school buses but they are optional outside. 

The current face-covering mandate was modified at the April School Board meeting to read: "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. All student-athletes participating in District-sponsored indoor athletic and extracurricular activities are required to wear a face-covering in accordance with WIAA guidelines, at a minimum. Special accommodations may be made for health-related conditions on a case-by-case basis."

"I am here begging that we continue to require masks in the school setting at least until all students are at least eligible for vaccines," said Dr. Katherine Burrows, parent. "I believe in science, and I believe in masks."

After several failed motions to adjust masking guidelines, the board settled on keeping the mask requirement in place inside school buildings for the rest of the school year and for summer school, but if summer classes are held outdoors, masks will be optional. 

"I'm very happy they decided to keep masks because I feel it's a very important part to keeping our children safe," said Lena Ries, Cedarburg High School student.

"One question they couldn't answer is – what is going to be different at the end of Summer Academy for the start of the school year other than the motion ends when Summer Academy ends?" said Rick Karshna, community member.

The board also passed recommendations to keep social distancing, quarantining and contact tracing guidelines in place through June 11 but to forgo them for summer school.

Cedarburg’s last day of school is June 9, with summer school starting June 21.

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