The Baldwin-Woodville School Board had its first opportunity last week to decide whether or not to extend the mask mandate in light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court striking down Gov. Tony Evers’ ruling.
Before the vote, the public had an opportunity to voice their opinion and for 45 minutes, they took advantage.
One of the few who spoke in favor of keeping the mandate was Hillary Boyer, who explained due to her children’s medical issues, she went virtual the first semester. The decision was made to send them back to school for the second semester due to the mandate.
“You promised to keep my children safe,” she said. “We only have one month left. We don’t have the option to go virtual.”
Denise Avery read a letter from a teacher, which stated masks should be voluntary for the rest of the year.
“Students need to see faces and expressions,” she said. “Mental health is so important. Consider making masks a personal choice.”
Johanna Schaitel brought up mental health as well during her speech, stating the mandate could have negative effects on children’s health.
Dan Thompson said to look at the evidence.
“Masks should be a personal choice,” he said. “I’m anti-mask mandate.”
Dan Dietzman told the board in comments that he was appreciative of the board keeping school open all year. Dietzman told the board he and his children won't be attending school at Baldwin-Woodville or be involved in sports if masks are required in the fall. Dietzman is in favor of masks being optional. He told the board there are no statistics or data showing children are significant carriers or spreaders of coronavirus and there are no statistics or data indicating children are at significant health risk from the virus. Dietzman asked the board if they have statistics or data supporting the validity of the mask mandate for kids to please share those reports with the community in a newsletter or some communication.
When the time came for Board discussion, Jay Larson immediately made a motion to eliminate the mask mandate immediately. Ken Dykhouse seconded it.
And with no discussion, it went straight to vote. Larson and Dyhouse were the only ones to vote in favor as Todd Graf, John Hanson, Denise Monicken and Jolene Bonte all voted no (Brad Coplan was absent).
The Board approved masks for spring sports spectators when they are within close proximity of others. Athletes are not required to wear masks when practicing or playing.
Resignations were approved for the following:
• Steve Jensen as head girls basketball coach, Cassandra Ryba as junior varsity volleyball coach and Charlie Tobin as C-team volleyball coach.
• Lance Kamm as high school English teacher and Madeline Bishop as a special education teacher.
• Jodi Engler, Miranda Krentz and Aliese Mueller as special education paraprofessionals.
• Corissa Vought as high school student council advisor, Kirsten Lindquist as middle school play assistant director and Richard Pottratz as a night custodian.
Margene Nygaard’s retirement as a special education paraprofessional was approved.
The following hires were approved:
• Krista Quinlan and Emma Kling as elementary teachers.
• Chase Nelson and Bryan Jones as volunteer baseball and Jason Klopp and Jeff Newton as volunteer softball coaches.
2021 Graduation was set for the Friday night of Memorial Day Weekend in the high school parking lot. Officials said there would be no restrictions, but people will have to bring seating. If the weather is bad, the ceremony will move inside. Bonte and Larson volunteered to hand out diplomas.
Bonte, Graf and Dykhouse took the Oath of Offices after being elected to another three-year term earlier this month.