By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Following pleas from parents and students to immediately end the mask mandate, the Templeton Unified School District board on Tuesday voted to continue the mask mandate until March 12.
Starting March 12, district officials will still strongly recommend that students wear masks at school, but doing so will be optional. The policy is in line with the state of California’s new school mask guidelines that were issued earlier this week.
On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people attended a special meeting to discus whether the district should comply with state mandates or immediately end the mask mandate. Of the 15 public speakers, all but one asked the board to allow parents to determine if their children wear masks to school. One parent argued that children need to wear masks because of health concerns.
Last week, more than 150 people attended the Templeton school board meeting online, and several hundred attended in person. While the vast majority of the public wanted to end the mask mandate, there were several members of the campus community, including a parent, a teacher and a student, who wanted the mask mandate to continue for safety reasons.
On Tuesday, the school board voted 4-1 to make masks optional after March 12, and to strongly recommend that students keep wearing. Matt Vierra, who was in favor of leaving masking decisions up to parents, dissented.