The Board of Education of Putnam City Public Schools unanimously passed a mask requirement Tuesday night. All students will be required to wear a face-covering starting Wednesday.
“We were voted in to make these decisions and we’re here to protect those kids,” said board member Judy Mullen Hopper.
Students may request exemptions for the rule for a medical, religious, or personal reason, which follows a court ruling last week that halted a state law prohibiting mask mandates.
Kathleen Kennedy, a district spokesperson, said the district’s mask requirement was written in accordance with the court ruling.
PCPS reported 170 students tested positive for COVID-19 last week, as well as 23 staff members. The district does not track the number of quarantines, although it does require students and staff to remain at home after a close contact with a positive individual.
By requiring masks, Kennedy said the district aims to reduce the number of quarantined students.
“It’s just going to help us keep children in the classroom, and that’s where parents want their kids. They want them in school,” Kennedy said.
No one at the board meeting spoke against the requirement. One Putnam City High School student spoke in support of it.
“Our district has failed to protect us from a potentially deadly virus, allowing politics to get in the way of doing what is right,” said student Alex Kennedy, who spoke before the board voted to impose the requirement.