School board adjourns before voting on any mask policy for this school year

The Bemidji School Board adjourned their meeting before voting on any masking policy for this school year.

Several members of the public spoke against any mask requirements, claiming that mask use and lockdowns were detrimental to students’ well-being.

Business Director Jordan Hickman said new quarantine guidelines from MDH say that if an infected student and an exposed student were consistently wearing masks, the exposed student would not have to quarantine.

Superintendent Tim Lutz strongly recommended beginning the school year requiring universal masking.

During the COVID update segment of the meeting, Lutz said the Delta variant is 1,000-times more efficient at reproducing than last year’s Alpha variant, and children appear to be more susceptible to this strain than the last.

The meeting ended without any vote on a masking policy, which varied from required masking for unvaccinated people such as children not yet eligible for a vaccine, masking universally, and only recommending masking.

Board Chair Ann Long Voelkner requested a motion to adjourn after numerous interruptions in the crowded room.

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