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Masks to be optional in Medford School District

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MEDFORD, Wis. (WAOW)-- Masks will now be optional in Medford School District buildings.

Masks will remain optional as long as the seven day average of COVID-19 cases in Taylor County remain at 15 or below.

The change was brought forward as a motion by school board president Dave Fleegel

The school board voted in favor of the change during their meeting Monday night.

Should the case numbers rise above 15, mask wearing will then become required. Should another mask mandate be put in place by the state, masks would also become required again.

This comes nearly two weeks after two dozen students walked out of class at the high school in protest of the mask requirements for some in the district.

Those students wanted mask wearing to be optional.

The school board decided during a meeting earlier this month that students in grades kindergarten through fourth didn't have to wear masks while they are in the classroom. Students in fifth through twelfth grade had to wear masks.

Multiple people spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting sharing their opinion on whether wearing masks should be required.

"Due to the extremely low numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our area, face coverings in the Medford School District should remain optional for all students," one parent said.

"With locally very low vaccination rates and more transmissible strains circulating it does not make sense to remove mitigation at this time," one parent said who was in favor of masks being required.

The new rule will stay in effect through summer school.

Those playing sports are still expected to follow WIAA guidelines.

Ben Zitouni

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