KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo Public Schools is ending its mask mandate.
At the district’s board of education meeting Wednesday night, Superintendent Rita Raichoudhari brought before board members a recommendation to make masks optional in the district, but in two phases.
The first makes masks optional in all outdoor settings beginning Monday. The superintendent said that would be regardless of crowd size and space apart.
“I’m recommending that masks become optional despite of any other conditions, such as social distancing,” Raichoudhari said.
Masks for indoor settings would still be required for the next three weeks, which means the second phase would go into effect May 30. Raichoudhari said the goal is to avoid interruptions to key events.
“(The indoor mandate) will get us through benchmark testing, which ends Friday, May 27th,” Raichoudhari explained. “It will take us through the end of the school year for seniors, so they don’t miss final exams, end-of-year celebrations and graduation.”
The board decided to table the final vote until after public comment, during which the majority of those who took the podium were in favor of ending the mask mandate.
“Our kids deserve better. Parents are demanding better,” one parent said. “Take the masks off of our children and let them get back to living normal lives.”
“I realize that our district has … other issues to deal with, very important issues. Masks should not be one of them,” another parent added.
Board members then had their say.
“In the spirit of recognizing this as a step toward where I think we should be … I want to support the action,” Board Treasurer Ken Greschak said.
“We are definitely getting to the end,” Board President Patti Sholler-Barber said. “I want to really appreciate and salute those people who have been so helpful to all of us, and supporting and helping these children. But it’s time.”
The recommendation passed unanimously, 4-0.
The last day of the term for Kalamazoo Public Schools is June 10.