Mask wearing and quarantine protocols are two contested issues as schools plan for the fall return. Williams Bay parents took to the mic on Tuesday evening, Aug. 3 to voice their concerns.
The school board hosted the community listening session to collect feedback on the COVID-19 draft reopening plan released last week.
Currently, the plan states that masks are optional, but “recommended and supported” for those who are not vaccinated. Regarding quarantining, the plan says staff and students identified as close contacts during contact tracing will be excluded from school for 14 days–unless they have been vaccinated.
Although masks are optional under the current plan, parents worried that a federal mandate could cause an abrupt change in school policy.
“We have always been a small school that has taken pride in making our own decisions,” Heidi Stocking said.
Stocking’s daughter is a second grader at Williams Bay Elementary. Stocking described the pain of watching her daughter come home from school, “itching and in tears” from wearing a mask all day. She refuses to put her daughter through this experience again, Stocking said.
Superintendent William White explained that should masks be mandated at the federal level, the school’s attorneys have recommended that the school follow this direction. Parents would have the option to enroll their children in virtual learning, White said, as the district has established a partnership with the Elkhorn Area School District’s Options Virtual Charter School that would allow students to attend the online program while remaining part of the Williams Bay School District. He clarified that the district does not plan on livestreaming from classrooms.