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Bozeman School Board meeting stretches six hours with possible mask mandate under discussion

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 20:15:59-04

BOZEMAN — Will students in the Bozeman School District be required to wear a mask this fall? That questioned wasn't answered at Monday night’s School Board meeting, but there was a lot of discussion around it.

“The big question that we’re all here to talk about and discuss is masks,” said Interim Superintendent Casey Bertram.

There was another equally important question trustees also have to figure out, which is how to create unity across the mask or no-mask divide. Voices on both sides of that divide spoke at the Monday night meeting.

“When did we as Americans become so babyish that we can’t get together and do something as simple as wearing a mask until we figure this thing out,” said one parent during public comment.

“We’re the parents. We’re the ones taking the risks sending our kids to the public schools with or without masks. I’m disappointed that you guys have made up your mind without even listening to us,” another parent said.

And it wasn’t just the parents; students also weighed in on both sides.

“If I just have to wear a mask to keep people safe then I’m more than willing to do that. We don’t have to make this political. It’s about safety and health," said one student.

“If you’re sitting in school for eight hours at the end of the day your face is very sweaty and hot and gross and until you’re doing that every day I do not want to hear someone who only wears theirs in the grocery store for 20 minutes to tell me how I’m supposed to feel about a mask,” another student added.

And trustees don’t have much time left to make a decision before school starts on the 30th.

Usually school board meetings are scheduled every two weeks, but the next school board meeting is scheduled for August 23.

Trustees are expected to take a vote at the next school board meeting.

Superintendent Bertram recommends a mask mandate for students to start off the year and the district’s Covid Advisory Task Force recommends a mask mandate if community transmission levels are considered high, which they currently are.