The Chadron school board has approved a Red-Yellow-Green COVID-19 plan for the coming school year that supports but doesn’t require wearing masks while keeping mandatory use as an option if a school is hit by a major outbreak.
It’s an approach that had solid support, though not enthusiastic, from a full house audience at Monday night’s board meeting.
Despite wide mask-no mask differences between some of those present, the discussion remained calm and civil – which Board President Tom Menke said afterward pleased but didn’t surprise him.
Menke also had great praise for Superintendent Ginger Meyer, the principals, and the rest of the staff that developed the COVID-19 plan for the year that starts next week.
Kevin Oleksy told the board he has a friend who’s entire family, including children, have come down with the Delta variant and that while he would prefer the district to follow the stricter CDC mask guidelines, he was comfortable with the plan.
City Councilman Miles Bannan said he was afraid his 2 young sons would be walking into a buzzsaw and possible explosion of cases, especially with the end of free mass testing and updated community spread numbers but felt the district’s plan would allow fast reactions when needed.
Travis Nitsch, husband of board member Maddie Nitsch, called the COVID vaccines “a joke” and mask mandates “a load of crap,” but said while he would “never, never” wear a mask, he thought the plan was in order and looked good.
Board member Boone Huffman said he and his colleagues must make decisions for all the kids in the district, not just their own, and that he was 1,000% against starting with mandatory masking.
Huffman said he was more worried about the reaction of children to masking, including public shaming and thoughts of suicide, than he was about the district being hit with deaths from COVID.