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After overturned mandate, schools take their own approach to masking

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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LUXEMBURG, Wis. (WBAY) - Some area school districts are starting to relax mask requirements and other COVID-19 precautions. It comes after the State Supreme Court overturned the governor’s statewide mandate last week.

Action 2 News spoke with several area school districts on Friday, who tell us they’re keeping the mask mandates in place until further notice.

Last week, Pulaski Superintendent Allison Space released a statement saying in part, “Our district policy that all students, staff, and visitors to our buildings wear a face-covering remains in effect.” Space says the mask policy follows best practices from health experts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, adding that it is to “ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.”

Statement over mask policy
Statement over mask policy(WBAY)

Luxemburg-Casco is one district that is loosening mask requirements. A letter sent to parents from Luxemburg-Casco’s superintendent says starting Monday, April 12, masks are no longer required outside or for outdoor athletic events. The letter reads “students may remove their masks indoors, only if they are behind a plastic barrier.” Although, health experts say Plexiglas would be less effective than masks in stopping the spread of the virus.

Says students don't have to wear masks outside or for outdoor athletic events
Says students don't have to wear masks outside or for outdoor athletic events(WBAY)

“I haven’t come across clear evidence as far as Plexiglas, and there’s probably a couple of different variables with the Plexiglas scenario as well, probably chiefly how large is the piece of Plexiglas, because you know your water droplets and when you breathe can easily spread around Plexiglas if it isn’t sufficiently large so that one probably might be a little bit more challenging to make a medical recommendation on,” said Dr. Brad Burmeister, emergency physician for Bellin Health.

As we’ve reported, state officials argued the importance of wearing masks in order to protect us as more contagious variants spread across the country. State health officials said this week that all five known variants have been found in people in Wisconsin.

“And that this new B.1.1.7 strain/variant has become something that has also attacked our younger people,” Wade Labecki said, deputy director of WIAA.

Officials with Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) explained how masked and non-masked teams would affect games.

“Schools, if they’re going to wear masks, they inquire with the other school whether that mask is going to be worn or not, and if it is not, then that game can be canceled without any forfeitures,” Labecki explained.

We reached out to Lux-Casco for comment but did not hear back.

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