Douglas County drops mask mandates in schools

Douglas County school board members voted Tuesday evening to eliminate the mask mandate for Douglas County School District after hearing hours of public comments from students, parents and other residents.

Mike Peterson, school board president, said during the meeting that the timeline for the resolution to go into effect is immediate, although some students may still wear face-coverings while schools figure out accommodations for those who need them.

The school board’s vote comes after a federal judge blocked a mask exemption from Douglas County’s new health department in October, saying it violated the rights of students with disabilities.

The school board, in passing the resolution, said it will also not set a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students or district staff. The resolution passed in a 4 to 3 vote.

The members who voted for the resolution to drop the mask mandate included all four conservative members who hold the majority on the seven-member board and were elected to the board last month. The four did not wear masks during the meeting, while the three incumbent members did.

Earlier in the evening, the school board heard comments from the public for about three hours, with most of those speaking in support of the resolution to drop the mask requirements for schools.

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