Zionsville Community Schools Board of Trustees did not take new action concerning mask requirements for teachers and staff in the district’s schools, meaning teachers and staff are “strongly recommended” to wear masks, a decision that was criticized by some ZCS parents.
On July 28, the board voted 3-2 to require children younger than 12 to wear masks in school. At the board’s July 12 meeting, it unanimously adopted ZCS Supt. Scott Robison’s recommendation at the time that masks be optional and “strongly recommended” for all students, teachers and staff. Robison said that because the board’s July 28 decision did not alter its July 12 decision for teachers and staff, no mask policy changes were made for the new school year, which began Aug. 3.
During the board’s Aug. 9 meeting, some ZCS parents who opposed the board’s decision to require students younger than 12 to wear masks questioned why their children were not given the same option as older students and staff.
“I didn’t know the teachers weren’t wearing masks,” Shawn Dean of Zionsville said at the board meeting. “If it’s that highly transmissible, there’s a big gap there. Teachers can’t be immune from it. Let’s keep things consistent would be my recommendation. Again, I am full for mask choice, but I just want a choice.”
Other parents said they would like for the school to conduct a survey to determine how many parents want their child to wear a mask. The board did not respond to the proposal because it was a public comment, and not an agenda item. Another parent who opposed the mask requirement echoed the call for consistency, saying the board should at least be “consistently ridiculous.”
ZCS Board of Trustees President Debbie Ungar and board members Michael Berg and Katie Aeschliman voted in favor of requiring masks for students younger than 12. Board members Jeff Papa and Michael Coussens voted against the requirement. ZCS students 12 and older also are “strongly recommended” to wear masks, per the board’s July 12 decision. Members who voted in favor of the requirement cited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Boone County Health Dept. and other health officials for the decision.
As of Aug. 9, ZCS had reported six positive COVID-19 cases.