With just eight weeks left until summer break, the Lewiston School Board agreed Monday evening to modify its districtwide COVID-19 protocols at a special meeting later this week.
The district’s mask requirement was enacted last fall after a spike in COVID-19 cases at two schools. Superintendent Bob Donaldson gave the board his blessing to roll back the mandate after hearing concerns from several parents at the public comment period who spoke about their children’s declining mental health.
Joe Gish, a Lewiston resident, urged the board to repeal its mask requirement and strongly encourage face coverings instead.
“COVID-19 isn’t much of a threat to children who are school-aged,” Gish said during the meeting at the old Lewiston High auditorium. “The parents and teachers can make those types of decisions because we care about our community.”
According to Donaldson, the decision is up to the board, which will vote on the matter at 6 p.m. Thursday.
With widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, Donaldson said the school should have a “pretty high level of vaccination.”
According to a recent staff poll, more than 70 percent of district staff said they would get the vaccine.
Nicole Lively, a mother of two children attending public school in Lewiston, urged the board to end the mask mandate at the elementary level.
“I watched the kids at recess, and they put their masks on a lanyard,” Lively said. “Then when they line up after recess, they drag the masks in the dirt and put these dirty masks back on their faces.”
Another mother of children in the district, Christina Brando, hopes the district keeps its mandate in lieu of the city dropping its.
“We only have eight weeks left,” Brando said. “Please keep things the same and get us through this school year.”
Board Vice President Sheri Allen said the mask requirement is no longer necessary.
“I feel like it doesn’t need to be at a mandated level anymore,” Allen said. “It’s not necessary.”
The board will vote on what changes to make to the current COVID-19 protocol at Thursday’s special meeting. The meeting is open to the public but there will be no public comment period.
Also during the meeting, it was announced prom and graduation ceremonies for Lewiston High School are still scheduled to take place.
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