By Phil Trubey
February 22, 2022
Last night at a special meeting to address this issue, the Roger Rowe school board voted 3-2 to immediately lift masking mandates for all students.
This issue had been building for some time. Ten days ago, the School Board sent a letter to Governor Newson asking that the school be allowed to eliminate student mask mandates. This came after 151 school parents signed a letter to the Board asking for action. A few weeks ago, several students engaged in a one day protest by not wearing masks to school.
Some parents have become concerned about the detrimental impact masking has had on their kids, especially younger ones. They complain about speech developmental delays, and think that masking plays a part. In addition, they point to evidence showing that masking has little if any effect on Covid transmission among children.
About 25 parents attended last night’s special board meeting, with 15 giving their three minutes allotted speaking time. No parent was passionate about keeping masks, with almost all parents speaking forcefully against the mask mandate.
The Board’s legal representative stated that the Board was within their rights to assert local control on this issue since Roger Rowe is its own school district. School Superintendent Donna Tripi expressed concern that some teachers might have problems with such a policy change. This was challenged by others stating that student welfare should be given priority over teachers, the function of the school being for the benefit of the students, not employment for teachers.
After more discussion, Vice President Annette Ross motioned to drop mandates immediately. The motion passed 3-2, with Trustees General John Tree and Kali Kim expressing concerns over timing (Governor Newson is likely to change State recommendations February 28).
Roger Rowe will join several other schools that have also dropped mask mandates such as the entire El Dorado school district in the Sacramento region.