Board reaffirms mask mandate after health department order rescinded


More stories from Jade Westjohn

The ELPS logo

Photo by ELPS

The ELPS logo

At the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Feb. 28, the Board unanimously passed a resolution to verify the decision to maintain the mask mandate in the district. 

The Board passed the resolution based on a number of concerns from Board members. In an email from Superintendent Dori Leyko on Tuesday morning, she outlined six reasons for the rationale to continue universal masking in the district. 

One of those concerns was that in a school where masks are optional, individuals who were in close contact are required to wear masks for 10 days. Those who test positive for COVID-19 can return to school after quarantining for five days, with the requirement of wearing a mask on days six-to-ten. 

Additionally, without universal masking, the distance for close contact with COVID-19 is six feet. With universal masking, the distance for close contact with COVID-19 is only three feet. The board is also hoping to protect district families of those who have children under the age of 5 or eldery individuals in the home who are unable to be vaccinated.

In a Facebook post following the meeting, members of the “Support Public Education in East Lansing” group had conflicting feelings about the continuation of the mandate. 

Diana Wayne, a member of the group, was thankful the board kept the mandate.

“I appreciate them keeping students and staff even just a little bit safer,” Wayne said.

However, non-supporter Brittani Hall was not happy the board kept the mandate.

“They should have changed it, you can’t hang on health officials’ words for two years and then all of a sudden claim to know more than them,” Hall said. 

According to Superintendent Dori Leyko, what ELHS has been doing so far has worked relatively well, which has kept in-school transmission rates low and no canceled days of in-person instruction this school year.

After the decision to keep the mask mandate at this time, the board will reevaluate 1-2 weeks after spring break.