After a five hour meeting
t a five-hour meeting held Monday night, the Park Hill Board of Education approved a mask mandate for everyone in district facilities who is age three or older. The motion is effective immediately.
The first day of classes at Park Hill is Monday, Aug. 23.
The board said the district will reevaluate the mandate by the beginning of the second quarter of the 2021-22 school year.
The vote to approve the mandate was 6-1. Scott Monsees voted no. Monsees said he believes the decision is “not a decision that our school board should be making. That’s why I’m not going to be supporting this motion. I think the health boards should have input from our educators about this. I’m a big proponent of parental choice,” he said.
Janice Bolin, board president, said in response: “All of us wish it wasn’t our decision but it’s a decision that has to be made.” She added she feels “a responsibility to protect our students and staff and I think this is the best way to do that.”
Board member Susan Newburger said: “We are here for nearly 12,000 students and 1,600 employees. There are individual choices that can be made. But as a school board, we have to be here for all of the students and all of our employees and all of our community.”
Board member Kimberlee Ried made the motion to approve a mandate and re-evaluate it by the beginning of the second quarter of classes. Ried said she was making the motion “given the information that has been shared with us and looking at all the data points, the concerns we have with staffing and labor, the safety of our students.”
The motion was seconded by Brandy Woodley. Others voting in favor were Bart Klein, Todd Fane, Newburger, and Bolin.
During discussion as there was noise from the crowd in attendance, Bolin asked that the auditorium be emptied so board discussion could continue. She invited those present to, upon exiting the auditorium, to watch the livestreamed meeting online.
A video of the entire meeting is available on the Park Hill YouTube channel.