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Reaction mixed to ECASD mask requirement

Students and staff in one local district now have a better idea of how the school year will this fall.
Students and staff in one local district now have a better idea of how the school year will this fall.(WEAU)
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:58 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Students and staff in one local district now have a better idea of how the school year will look this fall.

Monday, the Eau Claire Area School District Board of Education unanimously passed a proposal to require face coverings for all students, staff, and visitors for the upcoming school year. For superintendent Michael Johnson says this year will be unlike any other.

Students and staff in one local district now have a better idea of how the school year will this fall.
Students and staff in one local district now have a better idea of how the school year will this fall.(WEAU)

“Everything stays the same on that first day of school, whether we are wearing a mask or not,” Johnson says.

With schools across the state trying to figure how to operate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eau Claire Area School District is making their plan more clear.

“This was something we wanted to address sooner rather than later,” Johnson says. “We wanted to share with parents because they’re making some choices and we did not want to wait for the state.”

Johnson says that the proposal was developed through weeks of consultations with staff, parents, students and local health professionals.

“We felt as a district, with hearing from our community and enlisting the help of professionals in the health field, as well as listening to our staff and out students on our task force, this is the direction we needed to go,” he says.

While some showed support for the proposal at Monday's board meeting, not everyone is pleased with the decision.

“I spent two years living and teaching in japan, where masks are a lot more common,” says Susan Kishel of Eau Claire. “This wasn’t traumatizing to them, it wasn’t upsetting to them when it is a normalized thing.”

“I think for us, it is crucial that they have the most time possible with their teachers learning about school work and not worrying about a mask on their face,” says Molly Geiger of Eau Claire.

Johnson says while he understands the concerns of parents, he believes the new rules will keep everyone safe this fall.

“I think that makes the majority of our families, parents and students alike, feel a bit more secure that it will be safer going to school now that this mandate is in effect,” he says.

He says while this school year will look different than those in the past, the mission is still the same.

“We don’t want to risk anything with this pandemic, but for the most part we want to teach,” Johnson says.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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