One week into school year, district reverses mask optional policy after surge in COVID-19 cases, students in quarantine

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 9:06 PM CDT
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MELROSE, Wis. (WEAU) - For the first week of the school year at Melrose-Mindoro School District, whether to wear a mask was up to the students and their families.

Now, the district will require students in seventh through 12th grade to mask up.

In an update posted online, Superintendent Jeff Arzt says the change in policy is due to “a significant number of COVID cases that is requiring the district to contact trace and quarantine students” and wearing masks will help to keep the school open.

The school district brings in students from both Jackson and La Crosse Counties, both of which are seeing a “very high” rate of COVID-19 transmission according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Asia Johnson, mom of two kids in the district, said the announcement was not a surprise and anticipates there could be more changes if there continues to be a high rate of disease spread.

“It is definitely going to get interesting, I am afraid. I am not sure what is going to happen but Melrose-Mindoro is an awesome school district and the administration, they do really care about what’s best for the kids,” Johnson said. “No matter what, we will get through the school year. That’s the important thing is the education.”

Chelsea Stenulson said while she prefers parents can choose whether their kids wear a face covering, she respects the district’s decision.

“I think we can all agree we do not want to see children sick and if it got to a point if my kids needed to be quarantined or were unsafe in a classroom then I would respect whatever measures Melrose felt they needed to take but I think it is also expected. We know that kids are going to get sick,” she said.

Masks remain optional for the elementary students.

Superintendent Jeff Arzt has not returned a request for more information.

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