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The Vandalia School Board met Monday, Nov. 16 and unanimously decided to return to a mask-optional policy. Vandalia will once again become a mask-optional school effective Monday, Dec. 6.
According to school board Vice-President Joe Schaal, Vandalia will be returning to level one in the mitigation metrics, which is a category defined as being for minimal transmission, and limited risk.
During the school board meeting Monday, Schaal said that, “Now I think it’s time for us to pivot back” meaning a lowering of the metric, and said he expects the school to incur legal expenses for this decision, which will require parent and community support behind the school board to fight for the changes.
Due to the threat of legal conflict with the state government, “We will need that [community] support going forward” Schaal said.
In a public statement online, Vandalia school board member Ryan Lewis also commented, describing the reasoning of the school board for the decision to lower the risk category. Lewis said, “COVID is here to stay, so the question is…do we have everything we need to protect ourselves? We believe the answer to that currently–is yes.”
Lewis went on to say that schools were being unfairly targeted for the mask mandates, and that those who want to be vaccinated, have been already.
“Currently” said Lewis in his statement, “We’ve seen no evidence of spread [of COVID] within the school. All positive cases that have been recorded have been either from family contact outside the school, or social group settings outside the school.”
However, Lewis stated clearly that if there is another outbreak, a plan is in place which can be implemented to lower the risk and stop the spread. But that is not the current reality. “It’s time for us to begin this transition to learning how to live a life with COVID. We have everything available to us to offer protection for those that want it.”
Schaal also reported, “We anticipate litigation as soon as we make this move, we have hired an attorney. Our initial cost for that attorney is eighty-four cents per student.” This cost will likely increase as the government seeks to avoid losing power over the school, but the Vandalia school board has the funds available to make a stand.
The tort budget for Vandalia has approximately $100,000 for legal defense of the school, with an expense of eighty-four cents per student. A trust is planned so that any citizen who feels compelled may donate to the school’s legal defense.
Vandalia Community Unit School District #203 cares about the health of students and has already implemented all necessary health safeguards such as, “Updated HVAC and bipolar ionization units installed in cafeterias and gymnasiums” as well as quarantine procedures, physical distancing, diagnostic testing, sanitation, and vaccination of staff.
If you feel strongly about Vandalia schools, you can donate to the school’s legal defense, email Joe Schaal, at firstname.lastname@example.org.