By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
After a contentious board of trustees meeting on Monday night, Cheyenne school officials have decided to strongly recommend, but not require, the use of facemasks once the school year begins next week.
The official decision was made late Thursday, with Margaret Crespo, superintendent of Laramie County School District No. 1, sending out a letter to parents about the recommendation.
Students are recommended to wear masks when they can’t be distanced a certain amount (6 feet during athletics and activities, 4 feet when seated in the lunchroom and 3 feet when in the classroom). They will be required to wear masks while on school buses, which is a federal mandate.
“Bullying based on mask choice will not be tolerated and will be handled according to our discipline matrix,” the letter said.
Parents were told to monitor their children for COVID-19 symptoms and keep them home if they are sick.
Discussions about a mask requirement grew heated during the board of trustees meeting Monday, with some people even calling school officials “criminals” and “child abusers.” Some people were even harassed by fellow audience members for supporting a mask requirement.
No other school districts in Wyoming have adopted a mask mandate. However, the University of Wyoming is requiring students, staff and faculty to wear masks until at least Sept. 20.
The announcement by Cheyenne schools comes just days after Gov. Mark Gordon reaffirmed to reporters that he wouldn’t be implementing another mask mandate like he did, albeit reluctantly, last December.
“I think it’s advisable to wear masks, but there are those who feel very strongly that masks are not the appropriate measure to take,” he said.