Green Bay loosens mask mandate for some grades
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay school board voted to loosen the district’s mask requirements for high schoolers at a special meeting Monday, June 7.
“I think this is a reasonable middle ground,” Trustee Andrew Becker said.
The motion, which passed unanimously, makes masks optional for students, staff, visitors and contractors in high school only buildings, effective June 14, the first day of summer school.
The mandate remains in effect in all PreK-8 schools and schools that house multiple grade levels, where PreK-8 students are present, such as John Dewey Academy for Learning, Northeast Wisconsin School of Innovation and Minoka-Hill.
Face coverings will be optional outdoors for all grades.
Masks will still be required for all grades on district buses.
Mask requirements for WIAA events will follow WIAA requirements.
Monday marks the first time the board loosened face-covering restrictions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m concerned,” Trustee Brenda Warren said. “All of our elementary students have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Some middle school students have, but not for very long.”
The board based its decision on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which still recommends continued mask-wearing in schools.
“This is an evolving, changing situation,” Warren said. “The CDC requirement, if they lift that, then this allows our district administration to immediately move to changing the mask recommendations.”
If the district’s COVID-19 infection rate reaches 1% over a five-day period, masks will be required until the rate falls below .2%.
The district’s COVID dashboard can be found online.
“I am so excited about the direction this is all going in terms of getting back to some sort of normalcy without masks,” Trustee Laura Latinen-Warren said. “I want to thank the administration for coming forward with this. I can’t imagine, being relatively new to the board, the amount of information and emails (you receive), so I appreciate the effort and work that has gone into listening to everyone, taking all the information into account and coming up with this recommendation. Also, I appreciate and want to encourage parents to continue to email and message – we had a lot of perspectives, but there was a lot of middle ground, and you can see that people just care about our district and want to get back to learning and some normalcy.”
Superintendent Steve Murley said the administration will next look at requirements in buildings without students – including the downtown district building and the auxiliary services building – and determine if changes are warranted.
“We are looking primarily right now at those areas where students will be present this summer,” Murley said. “And then, after the board takes action, then we’ll look at areas like the auxiliary services building and the district office building and determine whether or not we need to make adjustments for those that are primarily adult staff only.”
Murley said if a change is made, it will not need board approval, because it’s not directly connected to student instruction.