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Wisconsin Rapids School District votes to keep mask mandate through the 2020-2021 school year

Two sophomore’s from Lincoln High School created a petition that received over 800 signatures in favor of making masks optional.
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin Rapids School District held strong to their mask mandate after a unanimous decision to continue to have students and faculty wear masks to school. The Monday night meeting was packed full of people who wanted to express their opinion on the issue, with most people in attendance in favor of masks being optional. One of the people who spoke was a 5th grade teacher from a Wisconsin Rapids elementary school.

“There is nothing wrong to make sure that you are protecting yourself. But yourself is who you are protecting, so if that is what the mask is intended to do you should get a choice,” elementary teacher Samantha Franz said.

Two sophomore’s from Lincoln High School created a petition that received over 800 signatures in favor of making masks optional. The petition also gathered support from several faculty members.

“In this petition we are excited to see two health and physical education teachers in this district were willing to sign this for the many students wanting a choice in this matter,” Lincoln high school sophomore Destinee Steinhafel said.

Wisconsin Rapids has been fortunate to have seen a low number in breakouts in their school district. Aspirus pediatrician Dr. Lawrence Leibert said the mask mandate plays a role in that.

“We had kids wearing a mask, we had them socially distancing, we had them washing hands, by doing that we were able to keep kids in school where they belong,” Dr. Leibert said.

After the ruling came in, many in attendance for the meeting expressed frustration with the result, but Dr. Leibert believes the school board made the right decision.

“If you make it optional and 50% of people don’t wear masks then that’s where the virus is able to spread around the community. The mitigation efforts will not end up working,” Dr. Leibert said.

The last day for Wisconsin Rapids School District classes are on June 4. The board has not decided yet if masks will be required for the 2021-2022 school year.

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