DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Douglas County Board of Education voted late Tuesday night to leave masking in schools up to parents and students.
The vote passed to lift the mask requirement, 4-3.
Here are the exceptions to the requirement, according to DougCo Schools:
- Consistent with a federal public health order, students and staff are still required to wear face masks on school buses.
- As recognized in the Board of Education’s resolution and by the Douglas County Board of Health, masking may be required in individualized circumstances as an accommodation under the ADA, Section 504, or the IDEA. Students, staff, and volunteers should continue to bring masks to school in the event they may be needed. In the case that masks are needed in certain situations to protect an individual with an accommodation under the ADA, Section 504, or the IDEA, it will be done in a manner that impacts the fewest number of individuals as possible and will additionally respect students and staff who for medical reasons cannot tolerate a mask.
Roughly 100 people signed up to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting, which lasted more than three hours. Many argued face coverings make learning difficult and violate personal freedom. Others say face coverings, which have been implemented as a COVID-19 control measure, are an important safety tool in schools.
Douglas County does not currently have a county-wide mask requirement for indoor public spaces, unlike most other metro counties.
The resolution recommends personal and parent choice with respect to whether children should wear face coverings in school while allowing for appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities. The resolution also states there will be no district policy requiring a COVID-specific universal vaccine mandate for students or staff unless required by law or public health order.
Hannah Nunn, a teacher with the district, was among those who spoke before the board. She said a majority of students do not follow the current mask rule in place.
“Teachers get attitude and eye-rolls, even from students whose parents are adamantly for the mask mandate. This policing is ruining relationships with students,” Nunn said.
Some students argued their health and safety should be the primary concern of the board.