Masks remain optional in Germantown schools after board meeting

The Germantown Board of Education reconsidered the district's COVID-19 mitigation plan Monday night, Sept. 27, with some parents calling for the mask-optional district to require them. Masks will remain optional but recommended. 

The board did approve changing the 10-day quarantine requirement to include all students, regardless of vaccination status as some parents urged the board to require masks, especially as elementary and middle school-age children are not able to get the vaccine.

"I’m here, again, to beg you to make masks mandatory," said Monica Curtis.

According to the district, 48 students, a little more than one percent of the total population, were out of school Monday because of contracting COVID. Some parents urged the board to require masks, especially as elementary and middle school-age children are not able to get the vaccine.

Others in Germantown Monday night made clear their stance against any changes to the district's COVID-19 mitigation plans.

"These stripes already fought for freedom. We shouldn't have to continue to fight for freedom to breathe. They come here with their 'science.' We're not asking to take anything away from anybody. We want people to have choice," said one speaker.

"Please continue to keep masks optional," another speaker said.

Germantown School District officials report 128 students and 12 staff have tested positive since Sept. 1, with 48 students (16 elementary, 11 middle and 21 high school), or a little more than 1% of the district's roughly 3,900 students out sick Monday, along with five staff.

"I don’t want to risk exposing my kids, our kids, to that," said Monica Curtis.

Monica and Kevin Curtis would prefer them to be required. The couple has a 7- and 4-year-old who wear masks while at school. Vaccinations have not yet been approved for those under 12. The Curtis family pushed for the district to require masks, as was done during the last school year.

"Especially for those who can’t get the vaccine," said Kevin Curtis.

"My life revolves around children with compromised immune systems," said a Medical College of Wisconsin oncologist. "And I’d ask to you consider and continue to reconsider the option of requiring masks in our schools."

Recent CDC studies found pediatric COVID-19 case rates this school year were smaller in counties with mask requirements than those without and schools without mask requirements are three-and-a-half times more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks compared to those that required them.

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