Watertown’s back-to-school plan comes without a mask mandate

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 8:41 AM CDT
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WATERTOWN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Watertown Board of Education has approved its “Return To School” plan for the Watertown School District when students return to the classroom this month.

The plan strongly recommends students wear face coverings because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Dakota Radio Group reports it does not make them mandatory during classroom time.

Board member Scott Hardie made a motion to amend the plan. The amendment would have required students in grades 5-12 to wear masks “whenever feasible,” and “recommend” them for students in Pre K-thru fourth grade. Hardie conceded masks are an “inconvenience,” but says they’re the best option out there in the fight against COVID-19.

Board member Jean Moulton says masks are not for everyone, saying they can be a problem for children with breathing conditions like allergies or asthma.

Hardie’s amendment failed on a 3-2 vote. Hardie and Stephanie Lenards voted in favor. Moulton, Tammy Reiber and Stuart Stein voted against it.

Hardie says recommending masks didn’t go far enough for him

Reiber called the issue the, “most divisive” in her nine years on the board.

Watertown students return to school on August 27th.

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