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Park Hill School Board approves new mask mandate

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Posted at 2:04 AM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 09:38:39-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It took five hours, emotional pleas for and against a mask mandate and the clearing of screaming audience members from the meeting before the Park Hill School Board could vote Monday night on a mask mandate.

The board voted 6-1 in favor of a mask mandate inside all district facilities, with one board member saying her job is to take the emotion out of decision-making.

“I want to take a step back and make sure we’re making decisions based on how much we can know. I know there are things that are unknown, we wish we had more data, but I think this is the best decision based on the data we have right now.”

The mandate applies to everyone age 3 and older.

Board members will reevaluate the mandate by the beginning of the school district's second quarter.

Nearly 60 people, including students from district schools, spent three minutes each asking the board to either approve or vote down the mask mandate.

Speakers appealed to the board to consider the science behind the virus, vaccines and masks, while others claimed the science of the pandemic was not settled and masks don't make a difference in the fight against the virus.

Some in the audience yelled at school board members during the meeting and were told to stop.

The pointed comments continued and school board president Janice Bowlin asked everyone to leave the auditorium before the vote.

Board member Scott Monsees was the lone no vote. He said he believes in parental choice and thinks groups like the health department should make these decisions.

“I feel its our responsibility then to make the decision," another school board member replied to Monsees. "If other individuals who’ve been elected in our community are not going to take that responsibility and do it, then it falls to us to have the courage."

Class begins Aug. 23, but the mask mandate took effect immediately.