Appleton area school board votes to allow optional masking this fall

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 9:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - As students prepare to head back to school soon, masking will be a big issue.

On Monday night the Appleton Area School Board voted 4-2, allowing it to be optional but recommended regardless of vaccine status.

The decision was made based on the recommendation of the administration.

Dr. Judy Baseman, Superintendent said, “As we’ve said, it’s a tough decision and we did have good data from summer school. I know it’s not the same but we would like to give it a chance and then target our approach based on what we see.”

Before the board voted, a handful of parents spoke out.

“We are part of a family, a school community, the city of Appleton and we’re suppose to do what we can to ensure that we’re able to live together where we all feel safe and valued. The best way to do that for our kids this year is to require masks for unvaccinated students and staff,” said Parent Emily Tseffos.

Another parent disagreed, saying, “Masking children does not make logical sense at this stage of the pandemic. Case numbers are low. If masking in schools doesn’t end now, when is it going to end?”

Some board members wanted to delay a decision for another two weeks, to see if infection rates in the Fox Valley continue to go up.

“Right now I feel this is a time when we do need to make a decision based on the greater good and for me, I will not vote in favor of this policy,” said board member Kris Sauter.

However, that idea did not have majority support.

Board member Deb Truyman said, “I think we owe it to the students and teachers to let them go back with masking optional as the administration presented and go from there.”

Administrators will have the option to change the policy, should they see a need, and a spike in cases.

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