BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – In the end, the Boardman School Board said no, they would not lift the mask mandate that has been in effect since the start of school.
As far as moving it in the future, that depends on COVID cases among children.
For now, it will remain in effect indefinitely.
When the policy was implemented, school officials said they would monitor and evaluate the policy for the first 20 school days and revisit their decision near the end of September.
Now, the first 20 days of school have come and gone, and on Monday night, board members made good on their word to revisit the mask policy.
There have been those against the mask mandate who have been vocal at meetings and have held protests. Many who showed up to the meeting spoke out.
“Ultimately, the decision for the mask should be left to the parent, not the school. The last time I check, my daughter’s health decisions should be left to her parents, not you. I’m not going to co-parent with the school,” said one concerned parent.
Emotions were high during the meeting.
Many parents just wanted a reason why masks were put in place and others demanding the policy be removed.
“You are usurping our rights as parents. The buck stops here. We are not going to take this anymore. We are not asking you to drop the mandate. We are demanding you drop this mandate,” said another concerned parent.
Even with upset parents, the board decided to keep the mask mandate in place.
Superintendent Tim Saxton says he can sense parents are frustrated, but they are frustrated as well.
He says no one likes to see a community divided, but this is all about keeping kids in the classrooms.
“These are Boardman parents. These are people who live in our community. They send their kids to our schools, so obviously we do not want to see this type of division. We’re just going to keep working towards a solution, but our goal is to keep kids in-person and learning, and masking is the way to do it,” Saxton said.
School officials say they will continue to monitor the data going forward.
As for the mask policy, it will be in place indefinitely for now. Their next board meeting is October 25.