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Mitchell School District mask mandate starts Sept. 1

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - There’s a new mask mandate for the Mitchell School District after school board members voted unanimously in favor of it.

The mandate begins Sept. 1 and will be in effect until at least Nov. 8.

Several people shared their thoughts on the mask mandate at Monday night’s school board meeting in Mitchell. School board members had many parents give their thoughts before the meeting even started.

“I had 21 emails from parents in support of changing the protocols and most of that was related to masks and I had 14 emails against,” said Deb Olson, Mitchell School Board President.

One of the key factors for Olson’s vote was a request from city medical personnel who are worried about the growing number of COVID-19 cases.

“In Davidson County, we had 22 cases the day school started, today we have 65,” said Olson. “We want students to be in school and remain in school and receive in-person instruction for as long as they can.”

Kendra Smiths’ kids go to Mitchell High School, and she is against masks being mandated for everyone.

“My children had issues with them, one of them has migraines, so wearing a mask with them is nearly impossible. I have one with allergies, if you have general allergies, it makes it tough to wear a mask,” said Smith.

She is also worried the mask mandate could lead to vaccine mandate in the school, and she believes neither should be forced on people.

“If people want to wear masks they can, I just don’t feel like they should have to,” said Smith

Mitchell did have a mask mandate last year, and schools were able to stay with in-person classes all year.

“I know there is division, but I think ultimately what we all want is a quality education for our students and I would like if we could all work together for that,” said Olson.

Smith said she and several other parents are planning to protest the mask mandate on Wednesday.

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