ECASD Board reschedules meeting after people refuse to wear masks

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 6:33 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Eau Claire Area School District Board postponed Monday’s meeting after some in attendance refused to put on a mask.

The district currently requires all people wear a mask indoors in its facilities regardless of vaccination status.

“At this time I note that there are some members of audience who chosen to join without masks. We will not hold a meeting in the presence of those who will not help us keep everyone safe by not wearing a mask,” school board President Tim Nordin said at the meeting.

He then called a 10-minute recess allowing people to put on a face covering, warning them board members would postpone the meeting if people refused to wear one.

Following the break, some still refused to mask up.

“Because we have tried to run a safe meeting and we are not willing to endanger the safety of our community or ourselves or most importantly, honestly in my mind is our staff that’s here tonight, we will not hold a meeting in person. We will reschedule this meeting,” Nordin told the audience.

He said the meet will be rescheduled for Sept. 27. That meeting will use the blended model the district used most of last year. Board members and invited speakers and presenters will be there in person. The public can attend and watch online.

Nordin said the district can’t hold fully in-person meetings unless everyone puts on a mask.

“It’s what we need in order to have you come face to face,” he said. “The board and the community all want to be able to see each other in person and be able to share our opinions and let people be in the room as we do the work of this school board. But when people are unwilling to do that, when they won’t meet us in a place of respect and safety, then we do have ways that we can alter it.”

Nordin said the board decided to be much stricter about masking after multiple staff members tested positive following a prior meeting. Though he can’t say they got sick there, the meeting wasn’t safe.

“We knew when we had a meeting with 100 people most of them unmasked in our room that we were contributing to an unsafe environment,” he said. “And whether or not cases directly led from that, we knew that was not a risk we could put forward for our community and our staff and even for ourselves going forward.”

He said the district will announce next week how it will conduct meetings after Sept. 27.

Nordin also said people were offered a free mask at Monday’s meeting. They also could attend it virtually.

He said the Sept. 27 meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

The Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District said it’s also requiring masks at its school board meetings.

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