Sioux City school board gives superintendent the authority to issue mask mandates

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 8:08 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Masks could soon be back in the Sioux City Community School District.

Monday, the school board unanimously voted in favor of giving Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman the authority to mandate masks in some, or all, schools depending on the need.

The masks are considered a mitigation measure against COVID-19 while the district also deals with an employee shortage.

At the meeting, Dr. Gausman said he will likely issue the mandates for five school days at a time if three percent of the students and staff are out with COVID-19. He can extend the mandate for another five school days if needed.

“Yeah, based on what the board said tonight, I’m going to use that 3% mark as a strict mark for you know, if a building achieves 3% of their staff and students out with COVID, they will be in a mask mandate immediately and for the next five school days,” said Dr. Paul Gausman.

Board President Dan Greenwell said the unanimous vote showed board members wanted to keep schools open, even though some in the public may not support masks. He argues that preemptive masking before a large case spike will keep buildings open.

“(It will )keep the schools open, and allow the decisions to be made on a more quickly made basis and be able to put it on. We’re talking about five days at a time, as he indicated today,” he said.

For the time being, the school district will not post specific COVID-19 data about specific buildings for fear of violating privacy laws. However, Gausman says one school would’ve faced a mask mandate last week if the policy was in effect.

But, the building’s COVID-19 numbers have since dropped.

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