Wichita BOE meeting rescheduled, masks still required

Face masks required in Wichita Public Schools sign
Face masks required in Wichita Public Schools sign
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 3:08 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita School Board meeting that was supposed to take place Monday night has been rescheduled to Tuesday, January 18, 2021, at noon.

School board president Stan Reeser suspended Monday night’s meeting after some attendees, including three new school board members, refused to wear masks per district policy.

“We are more than willing to have this discussion about whether this mask mandate should continue. But at first, we must have the rules followed. You cannot change the rules ahead of time. You actually have to have a debate on it,” Reeser said.

The district-wide mask mandate has been in effect since August 30, 2021. It requires anyone age 3 or older to wear a mask in district buildings.

Monday night was also supposed to be a ceremonial swearing-in for the newly elected board members. They were officially sworn in at the election office.

Some of the new board members have been vocal on their social media against mask and vaccination mandates including Diane Albert.

In a statement, she said, “Last night’s stunt was unprofessional and political. The City of Wichita spoke loud and clear this election. They oppose mandates and support the right to make individual health choices. They are tired of a one size fits all health mandate.”

Reeser said while he welcomes the debate on masks. He’s focused more on students.

“As much as I welcome a debate on masks, I think the first job is making sure that we’re doing the job that we were supposed to be doing with student achievement and everything they’re supposed to learn and help them graduate. I mean, that should be job one. Mask discussions can come after the rules are followed,” Reeser said.

In a letter on Tuesday, Reeser said that board members who wish not to comply with the policy can participate in the Jan. 18 meeting remotely, but they are unable to vote remotely per BOE policy 0200 (BOE Agendas and Meetings) AIP 10. Audience members who don’t want to wear masks are given the option to watch the meeting live on Cox Channel 20, online at www.usd259.org/wpstvonline, or on the Livestream app.

Tuesday’s meeting will be held at the Alvin Morris Administrative Center (AMAC). Because it is during the day, anyone who attends will be required to sign in through the Hall Pass visitor management system. This is the same visitor management system the district uses in its school buildings. Attendees can bring their driver’s license in order to complete the scan quickly. Visitors should park in the main visitor lot at Lincoln and Edgemoor, or at the overflow visitor lot west of the main entry along Lincoln.

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