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School boards navigating the pandemic

While some school districts in Wisconsin have turned into war zones for debates about COVID-19 in Wisconsin, others like Sevastopol School District have been able to maintain civility.


An incident at an Oshkosh Area School District School Board meeting was cited when the National School Board Association sent a letter to the White House asking for the U.S. Department of Justice to step in as more members were a party to threats and harassment because of discussion about COVID-19. Some school boards have put restrictions on open comment periods at meetings as a result of the lack of decorum at the meetings only to be jeered away from the microphone. The eight school districts in Door and Kewaunee counties have not had to go that far yet with all of them keeping their public comment periods.


Sevastopol School Board President Lisa Bieri has served on the board since 2017. She says there is a wide array of opinions when it comes to masking, quarantine protocols, and vaccination mandates. During Thursday’s meeting, the board opted to make masking optional for everyone after requiring staff members and elementary school students for the last several weeks. They also voted to change the quarantine protocols and to not make the vaccine mandatory for staff members. She says proper communication has been key.

The Citizen’s Delegation to be Heard in Algoma and the Door County Parents Association have reached out to school boards to get answers to their questions. The Door County Parents Association asked school districts and their boards to answer several questions. They said they are making good progress in their requests, but declined an interview they are “not sure if it fits (their) goals as fundamentally they are only organized as a group requesting info as opposed to providing info to the general public.” The Citizen’s Delegation to be Heard prompted a two-hour special board meeting last month.


Picture courtesy of Sevastopol School District

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