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WCSB shoots down mask guidelines

WILLIAMSBURG — The Williamsburg Community School Board voted to allow students who test positive for COVID-19 to return to the classroom after five days of quarantine but will not require them to wear a mask for an additional five days.

That’s a move that goes against current federal guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines state that those who test positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for five days and, if symptoms are gone or resolving, can return, wearing a mask for an additional five days.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, board members debated the effectiveness of masks.

Board President Barry England said he is in favor of masks and that they work. But later in the meeting, he voted against requiring them for returning students.

“Masks do make a difference,” England said initially.

Board member Joseph Detwiler fired back at England, asking: “If they make a difference, why aren’t you wearing one, Barry?”

None of the board members in attendance were wearing masks during the meeting.

Detwiler claimed that the CDC is “broken” and that mask mandates were “determined to be unconstitutional.” He argued that if someone is healthy enough that he or she can return to school after five days, a mask shouldn’t be necessary.

Board member Patricia Kensinger was initially hesitant to vote on the subject.

“I’m not willing to vote on it today,” Kensinger said. “I want to look into it and research it.”

After some back-and-forth, which was, at times, passionate, board member Adam Hileman suggested the board just make a decision.

“Let’s just vote on it, and if we disagree, we disagree,” Hileman said.

Detwiler made the motion to make masks optional after a return from isolation after five days, and the matter was brought to a roll call vote.

Votes in favor of the deviation from CDC guidelines were from England, Louis Brenneman, Hileman, Jill Norris and Detwiler.

Votes against were from Benjamin Postles, Carlee Ranalli and Kensinger.

Mirror Staff Writer Andrew Mollenauer is at 814-946-7428.

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