Clovis Unified board votes to no longer exclude maskless students from classrooms

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The statewide school mask policy is still in effect at Clovis Unified.

But the policy to enforce masks has now changed. Kids who refuse to mask up will no longer be separated from the rest of their class.

Previously, those students who would not mask up were sent to alternate learning locations, like the multi-purpose room, administrative office or outdoors.

"Instead, enforce the mask mandate through education-based approaches such as posting the mandate visibly on each campus, encouraging observance on the mandate and notifying parents of non-compliance," says board member David DeFrank.

Parents and students packed the boardroom ahead of the vote -- mostly in support of dropping masks altogether.

But one school employee claimed the protests against mask-wearing have caused more stress than simply wearing them.

"The mask protest that has been occurring at our school has been a huge distraction to all of our students on campus, has caused unnecessary stress and has caused an emotional toll on our staff members and families," they said.

Before voting, superintendent Eimear O'Brien and other board members pointed to CUSD's improving COVID statistics.

On the same day the district was adjusting its enforcement, an incident out in the cold at Copper Hills Elementary got parents fired up.

Some students arrived at school refusing to wear masks. Instead of addressing that issue, staff moved 500 kids outdoors in the frigid weather, even those who were wearing masks.

District spokesperson Kelly Avants says the entire school's schedule was rearranged, moving PE and recess to the morning to avoid mask policy conflict since masks aren't required outside.

"It was a situation that we are not proud of and has contributed to our concern about unsustainability," O'Brien said.
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.