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Parents react to mask mandate for Bozeman schools

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Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 18:54:36-04

BOZEMAN — The big question at the Bozeman School Board meeting Monday night was if Bozeman students and staff will be going back to school under a mask mandate, and that question was finally answered.

The Board of Trustees voted 7-1 in favor of both an update to the mask policy and the emergency declaration that puts the mask mandate into action, meaning students and staff will have to wear masks to start the year.

“It’s a good decision just to keep the community safe and the kids going to school. It’s just in the best interest of everybody,” said one parent of a student in the Bozeman School District.

But not everyone is thrilled over the decision.

“When I found out this morning I wasn’t very excited about it. I do have one younger son who wears glasses and has a really difficult time wearing the mask in school,” said another parent.

The updated masks policy differs from CDC recommendations in certain areas.

“The CDC and the Gallatin City-County Health Department are recommending universal masking for all staff, students, and visitors in all K-12 schools. The superintendent’s recommendation this evening in terms of using the CDC’s high threshold as the decision maker,” said Interim Superintendent Casey Bertram.

But some parents disagree that the high threshold or high transmission rate isn’t enough, but regardless of the mask issue itself, a common motive seemed to rise from the meeting.

“It continuously just boils down for me to kids being in school 5 days a week,” said School Board Vice Chair Greg Neil.

“In general my kids are really just excited to be going back to school in-person. So, we’re just hopeful that it only has to last for a few weeks,” said the parent of a Bozeman student, who added she would adhere to the policy despite not being thrilled about it.

If you missed the meeting or any of the meetings, the District always posts the audio and supporting materials online. You can find it all here.