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Parents voice concerns over mask requirement in Bozeman schools

Posted at 2:10 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 16:10:37-04

BOZEMAN  — Students and parents are almost to the end of the school year, but there’s still a lot happening within the Bozeman School District. At Monday night's school board meeting, recent CDC guidance relating to masks and vaccinations was on the agenda.

And it was a hot topic that stretched the meeting to about three and a half hours discussing the issue of students wearing masks even though local mandates have been lifted.

“The CDC guidance is for schools to maintain their masking requirements to the end of the school year,” Interim Superintendent Casey Bertram said.

And the district is following that—but a majority of the public comments disagreed.

“Making this a choice is the right thing to do. Parents know what is best for their children. Treating kids sick until proven healthy is criminal, and that is what we are doing to them,” said one parent.

“You know, it’s kind of a double standard when they have to wear them at school but they can take them off to go to the store," added another.

One student said during public comment, “Whenever I’m in school, the mask, it like, gets above my eyes and I can’t see anything so it’s hard for me to focus and it’s really hard to breathe because I have asthma.”

But not all the participants disagreed.

“I really support following the CDC guidelines on this and keep the mask on. This is predominantly an indoors, aerosol disease, and I think the masks have been a big part of why we can get closer together, why we can go back to school full time,” said one parent in favor of students wearing masks.

No voting happened regarding the mask topic. It was simply a discussion where voices were heard.

Newly elected trustees were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting, and former trustee Andy Willett’s resignation was accepted.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 14. The May 24 meeting has been canceled.