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Lucia Mar School District officials discuss mask mandates

Posted at 6:28 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 18:56:49-04

The Lucia Mar Unified School District Board of Trustees met on Tuesday to discuss mask mandates for the upcoming school year. A mask-choice rally preceded the meeting.

Concerned parents say they are upset that the school district is not letting them decide whether to make their child wear a mask to school. The resolution most of them are hoping to see is that the choice about mask-wearing in classrooms be left up to parents this school year.

Parent Nicole Dorfman says she is worried about whether masking is safe for her children and says it will affect where she sends her children to school.

"I will not be sending my children back into the public school district if they have to wear masks all day," said Dorfman.

Community member Zach Wasil says he's hoping the school board will change its policies.

"Well you know the people on the board are regular people like us too but I think they need to change their mind. Kids just shouldn't be in masks. It's just not right," said Wasil.

Michael Mulder, parent of 6 children in the district and Vice President of Central Coast Families for Education Reform, went to the rally to advocate for parents to choose if their children wear masks and are vaccinated.

"...And what this board is doing is choosing for us. They've taken away our voices and they've stripped our kids of their rights and they've stripped us of our rights and that's why we're here is to fight for our rights," said Mulder.

At the meeting, Lucia Mar Unified School District Superintendent Paul Fawcett responded to the parents and community members.

"We're glad you're here to comment. It's important to have community participation. I just have to say it is thrilling to know we are opening our schools full time again on August 19th to all our full in-person programming with full transportation and all of the educational offerings," said Fawcett.

Attorney Joshua Whiteside spoke about CDC guidance for schools.

"The CDC also updated its K-12 schools guidance to recommend that districts nationwide implement indoor masking for all staff and students at K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status. Notably, the district is not required by law to follow that CDC guidance. They are required to follow that CDC order on school buses but related to this guidance that is more general, there is no legal power," said Whiteside.

School district officials say that while the CDC's guidelines are just guidelines, they do have to follow orders from local health officials, CalOSHA, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the CDPH has mandated masks for students.

Board members were discussing possible solutions but at one point had to take a recess because of the disorderly crowd.

The next meeting will take place in a few weeks at which there will be public comment but at this time the agenda is yet to be set for a vote on mask mandates.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the meeting was ended because of the disorderly crowd but it was only recessed.