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DHS recommends mask wearing in schools

The decision to issue a mask mandate for school districts rests in the hands of local school boards.
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 5:29 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services is urging school districts across the state to follow CDC recommendations for the upcoming school year. This includes mask wearing in schools.

The decision to issue a mask mandate for school districts rests in the hands of local school boards.

“It’s never been more difficult to be a school board member in the state of Wisconsin,” said Governor Evers in a media briefing on Thursday.

Evers says its critical for the people in this position make sure kids are safe.

“I know school board members have to be responsive to the people that elect them and put them in charge of kids education,” said Evers. “At the same time, they also have obligations to follow the science.”

Dr. Ryan Westergaard, the Chief Medical Officer for Wisconsin DHS, says masks are strongly recommended in school settings.

“Masks are a tool that work best when everyone in the environment wears them,” said Dr. Westergaard. “Because children are not vaccinated by and large, they can be in environments where transmission can happen explosively.”

Deputy Secretary Julie Willems van Dijk also spoke Thursday urging schools to adopt the CDC recommendations to require students and staff to wear masks.

“It’s the most important action for schools to take to provide a safe learning environment for our kids,” said Willems van Dijk.

Some local school districts in Dane County have already issued mask mandates for schools.

Other districts, such as Janesville and Milton in Rock County, have said masks will be optional this school year.

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