The new norm in Fairview schools for masks is recommended, not required.
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Fairview School Districts’ board unanimously voted at a special meeting to end the mask mandate within the district, meaning students will no longer be required to always have a mask on during the school day.
The ultimate decision came after much discussion between board members, including community members’ input, and the decision was finalized after some amendments to previous agreements as to what to do.
While masks are no longer required throughout the district during the school day, teachers may require them in their respective classrooms.
The board agreed this was a good idea, as Superintendent Luke Kloker said there are teachers who had expressed that they would like to wear masks still. Kloker also used the example of teachers who may have underlying health conditions and do not want to risk any harmful side effects.
This also applies to bus drivers; if a bus driver wants to require students to wear masks, they can do so on their respective busses.
Furthermore, district administration has the power to require masks in some capacity, should there be an influx in cases in the schools or the community.
Originally, a motion was made to make these changes to the mask policy, with a piece that would require grades 6-12 to wear masks in common areas.
After a bit more discussion, the board agreed to not require masks in common areas for students in those grades.
A big reason why the board felt it was OK to end the mandate is because the district is in good shape: As of the meeting, Kloker said there were no active cases in the district and there are no students currently in quarantine.
This was the central subject to the discussion around the common area mask requirement for students in grades 6-12.
One side argued that masks in the hallway won’t keep COVID-19 out of the schools because students can still contract it outside of school, and the other side argued that what the district has been doing (with wearing masks) must be working since there are no cases in the schools.
While both sides had valid points, ultimately the clause to give administrators the ability to require masks, should there be an influx of cases, was the agreed-upon route.
Even though there is no requirement now to wear masks, if students and their parents feel that they should wear masks, they are free to. At the same time, if students do not want to, they don’t have to.
Wearing a mask is recommended by the district, as part of the new policy it adopted, but unless teachers or bus drivers require them, masks are no longer mandatory in Fairview schools.