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Vail USD talks mask mandates following canceled board meeting

Posted at 10:16 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 10:48:56-04

VAIL, Ariz. (KGUN) — "I'm strongly in support of maintaining masks as a mitigation strategy throughout out district," said Vail parent and district employee, Danae Nieto.

"My child's health is my choice and my responsibility, not yours," said Vail parent, Stephanie Engel.

Dozens of parents sounded off on the issue of face masks at schools in the Vail Unified School District.

Others acknowledged the difficult situation and the challenges made evident.

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"I know it's been hard for everybody to see our community this way, experiencing so much division, but I know it's because we all care so much about the community," said Vail parent, Michelle Salvagio.

Last week, the school board elected to cancel the meeting because of a fear that too many people attending wouldn't follow health guidelines, a situation rebuked by board members.

"Last Tuesday night was a night I will never forget and will be a bruise on our community for a little while," said Vail USD board member, Chris King.

"I think the saddest part for me, throughout this whole situation has just been seeing the division within our community," said Vail USD board member, Allison Pratt.

Still some members made their feelings on mask mandates clear for parents and staff.

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"Keeping the current mitigation strategies in place is the responsible way to go forward to finish the school year," said Vail USD board member, Claudia Anderson.

"I believe that face masks and coverings should be optional for staff and students," King said.

Superintendent John Carruth had the last word at Monday's board meeting.

"We heard tonight a number of varying opinions," he said.

"We are continuing to listen, I've taken some notes on things that people have said tonight."

No decision was made on how to proceed for the rest of the school year and Carruth himself acknowledged the district isn't even certain how it's going to proceed determining any actions for next school year.

"I'd love to be able to spell out exactly what that is, it's a little unclear what those criteria are."

The board is allowing students to choose whether they want to wear masks during outdoor activities but all other mandates remain in place.

Another town hall on the subject will be held Tuesday at 6pm.