'Masks are not good': Burlington school board members postpone mask decision after heated debate

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BURLINGTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Burlington Area School District board members took no action on a mask mandate for the upcoming school year.

The decision to postpone was made after a discussion grew during the school board meeting on Monday, Aug. 9.

While some may support wearing masks during the next school year, those against masks argued the masks are disruptive and not what they want.

"We're trying to have a civilized conversation. And I want to hear from everyone," said a board member to some shouting in the audience.

Parents, teachers and residents filled the space Monday night.

Several anti-mask supporters spoke out, some shouting, against a possible mandate for the upcoming school year.

"You know, masks are not good for kids. It's not good for their mental health, it's not good for their physical health," said one parent. "I ask that every parent out there, it's our duty to stand up and say no, we will not comply."

The district does track COVID cases.

According to its dashboard, in Spring 2021 there were 96 positive cases: 68 were students and 28 were staff.

On Monday night, some argued the masks do not prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Others, felt the choice should be theirs to make.

"If someone has a fear of COVID and they believe that a mask, or a vaccine, will keep them safe then they have the right to choose that," said a parent.

One teacher said the masks are negatively impacting her relationship with her students.

"Now these students no longer talk to me, they no longer talk to each other," she explained. "So that comradery is gone, the social aspect is gone, and most importantly the joy in their daily education and lives is gone. The masks should not be mandatory. I know if this community was surveyed, the majority of us would feel the same."

Unable to contain the chaos, board members moved the meeting to another location to finish the agenda.

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