Wausau School District decides on policies for upcoming school year

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:43 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Wausau School District decided on a plan for COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming school year. The motion that circulated the most discussion was masking decisions and how to navigate the school year with the new delta variant.

“What we’re proposing is that we start the school year in a fairly normal mode,” Superintendent of Schools, Keith Hilts said.

Wausau School District made the decision to making masks optional. “If students are going to mask here or staff is going to mask here, it really won’t have an impact,” Hilts said.

On the other hand, School Board Member, Jane Rusch raised the question if they were going to ignore the newest recommendations from the CDC and Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction. Hilts responded with, “That is their area of expertise, right next to that we have a lived experience last year, where we made the decision to get ahead of those recommendations and we still had a better educational experience with little to no virus transmission. So yeah I would like to start open and restrict as the data indicates as we should.”

The biggest concern was how parents were going to react to mandating a mask policy, thinking some would end up moving to a different school district.

School District Treasurer, Lance Trollop said universal masking would be effective, but it isn’t happening here, saying the problem lies more within the community. “that’s why I think its a community issue and not a school issue and I don’t think we will see much difference because the people who don’t believe in masks they’re not going to protect themselves, they’re going to interact the same as they did before. and they’re going to do that whether we have a mask requirement in the school buildings or not.”

Half of the crowd clapped for parents getting to make the decision for masks. Meanwhile, others shook their heads. But, the board did agree on looking at data and comparing cases from other districts that decided to require masks.

“I think what I heard tonight was that the board has a great deal of confidence in that and allowing us to take those steps and most of what we’re recommending, we already have the authority to do,” Hilts said.

The board said when and if the time comes, adjustments will be made.

To rewatch the full meetings and more decisions for the school, click here.

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