Oconomowoc School Board meets following abrupt resignation of 3 members

NOW: Oconomowoc School Board meets following abrupt resignation of 3 members


OCONOMOWOC, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Oconomowoc Area School District Board met Wednesday night, Aug. 18, minus three board members who quit on the spot this week after Covid mitigation efforts bitterly divided the board.

The four remaining school board members were in attendance, but no action was taken on one of the items that divided the board -- masks.

Parents filled the Oconomowoc School Board meeting.

"We will never know if we did too much, but we will most definitely know if we did too little," said one parent.

A good number pleading with the board to require masks, few for mask-choice.

"We should learn from districts that have suffered the death of a child and then changed their policy," said parent Natalie McAndrew.

"Polyester masks, they're 37.8 percent efficient. Three-layer cotton masks, 26.5 percent efficient," another parent said.

"He's not vaccinated and your decision not to require masks is going to mean that he's not going to be able to attend in-person school this fall," said parent Scott Drummond.

Covid mitigation methods are what now-former board members expressed concern about in submitting resignation letters this week.

"I would just like to thank them for their service to the Oconomowoc Area School District," said board member Scott Roehl.

Board members say the data has changed since they moved to a mask-optional policy as of last month. So it's important to look at vaccination rates and where new cases are popping up.

"We will use mandated masking as a layered mitigation strategy when our data proves it necessary," said Dr. Kristen Taylor, interim superintendent.

Parents expressed concern, especially for younger students who aren't eligible for the vaccine, and concern over the politics taking place.

"Who in the world would want to be superintendent of a community and work with a school board that is unwilling to listen to all points of view?" questioned one parent.

The board did take a vote on replacing the three board members who left. 

They'll be posting those vacancies immediately. The deadline to apply is Sept. 3.

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