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School Board passes motion to mandate masks in Fairbanks district schools

The School Board voted to pass a motion to apply a mask mandate for students, staff, and...
The School Board voted to pass a motion to apply a mask mandate for students, staff, and visitors across district schools.(Ryan Osborne)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 4:45 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - During the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board’s regular meeting on Sept. 7, the board voted to pass a motion that would re-enable a mandatory mask mandate for children, staff and visitors within schools throughout the district.

This decision was made due to myriad factors, most notably the rapid increase in case numbers throughout the student population due to the high transmissibility of the COVID-19 delta variant, resulting in 278 cases in the first three weeks of school according to Eielson Airforce Base representative Col. Stewart Williamson.

After a long deliberation process, the final version of the mandate was decided. According to School Board President Tim Doran, the mask mandate says, “The 2021-22 operational guidelines regarding masking will include the following: Mandatory mask wearing for students, staff, and visitors age 2 and older when in doors; mandatory mask wearing at extracurricular events per (ASAA) guidelines.”

The majority of the board voted to pass the motion, with only members April Smith and Margret Mathison opting for mask choice. However immediately following the finalization of the vote, board member Matthew Sampson called for a reconsideration. That motion to reconsider failed, with only Sampson, Smith, and Mathison voting in favor of reconsideration. The final vote for implementing a mask mandate ultimately passed with a 5-2 majority.

This matter is up for another round of discussion at the School Board’s Dec. 7 regular meeting. The mandate will officially go into effect Sept. 13.

More information about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidelines can be viewed here, and ASAA guidelines can be viewed here.

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