School Board makes masks required

By 
Chris Mcconnell
Thursday, March 4, 2021

Last Thursday after an Executive Session where trustees meet with legal council, they voted 4–2 to amend the school Reopening Plan for the 2020–2021 school year and make masks required for the remainder of the school year (Board Chair Karen Teeters and Brittani Hunter voted against the item). The Laurel Unified Education Association threatened legal action if masks weren’t mandatory until a Memorandum of Agreement between the board and teacher’s union expires on June 30, 2021.

In a letter to parents and community members sent last Friday, Superintendent Linda Filpula said the board took the following action: On the advice of counsel and as Governor Gianforte directed on February 12, 2021 to make reasonable efforts to follow best practices recommended by the CDC, I move to amend our Reopening Plan for the 2020-21 school year as follows. February 25, 2021 update: The Laurel School District hereby incorporates by reference the January 11, 2021, Memorandum of Agreement between the Laurel School District and the Laurel Unified Education Association. Any provisions of the School District’s Reopening/Operations Plan for the 2020-21 academic year inconsistent with that Memorandum of Agreement are hereby rescinded.

The MOA, as a binding contract, governs and requires universal masking per CDC guidelines. Effective immediately, we will return to universal masking for all students and staff and continue with previously established accommodations for students and staff.

The MOA expires on June 30, 2021, at which time Board Policy 1905 will apply and states, “staff and students may wear a mask while present in any school building.”

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