Green Bay School Board to discuss easing masking requirements for summer school

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 9:47 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay Area Public School Board will hold a special meeting on Monday to discuss dropping mask requirements within the district.

“I’m hopeful the decisions made will be optional, let the parents make the decisions for their children as it should be,” said Melissa Stitz, a parent.

The mask debate is still alive and well among parents whose children attend Green Bay public schools.

Another parent, wishing to remain anonymous, shared what she wrote to the school board: “My kids’ dad and I decided to sign the kids up for summer school under the assumption masking would be required or following CDC guidelines. Please don’t change this.”

With news that the CDC might loosen its guidelines on wearing masks in schools this summer and fall, district officials say they’re willing to change too.

“We didn’t want to find ourselves having to transition in the middle of summer school, that we would actually come to the board on the 7th with a recommendation that we look at relaxing the mask requirement for summer school,” said Superintendent, Stephen Murley.

Summer school starts on June 14 and the district wanted to give families some time to react to the potential changes.

“If parents are deciding one way or the other that would like to participate or if they would like to pause, they have plenty of time to think about that,” said Murley.

Even as district leaders see a decline in positive cases among schools and the community, part of the proposal includes gating criteria.

If positive cases within the district spike above one percent, students and staff might have to mask up again.

“Even as we’ve talked about burden rates and ways to get back to in person…we’ve had gating criteria to say if things start to get bad, we might change this course of action,” said Eric Vanden Heuvel, board president.

Vanden Heuvel says summer school will be a good trial run for the fall.

“We’ll still keep social distancing in place, hand sanitizing, screening, we’ll modify our quarantine plan a little bit. So, it will give us an opportunity to test some of those practices.”

Summer school starts on June 14. The special board meeting will be held virtually at Noon on Monday.

Several other school districts in northeast Wisconsin are making similar moves.

The Appleton School District announcing Friday, masks will be optional starting Monday.

Ashwaubenon, West De Pere and Howard-Suamico School Districts are dropping mask requirements for summer school.

The De Pere School District will also discuss a similar measure at its special meeting on Tuesday.

Masks are still required on buses since bus companies follow federal guidelines.

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