FORT ATKINSON — Parents in the Ft. Atkinson School District are divided on masks, but after the death of a 13-year-old student in the district, Thursday night the school board decided to require masks. The vote came late in the evening after nearly 2 hours of public comment at the meeting.
One parent said, “with no mask mandate, transmission, not doing what they can to keep children safe."
Another believed it was their right to decide if their child wears a mask.”I don’t think you should be guilted, pressured into making choices for everybody. We all need to make our own choices about whether to make our children or not."
The debate over masks is becoming common place across the nation as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread. But in Jefferson County, where Fort Atkinson sits, a health officer is sounding the alarm.
“It’s snowballing and it’s looking pretty bad right now in schools. It’s not a safe environment for students to learn in,” said Jefferson County Epidemiologist Samroz Jakvani.
The news comes after 13-year-old Danny Rees suddenly died this week with cold-like symptoms. According to a GoFundMe page, his mother says he stopped breathing and that he was later diagnosed with COVID-19. The county’s Medical Examiner says they won’t know for sure if COVID played a factor until an investigation is complete.
The district will now require masks in all indoor spaces until at least the next board meeting, which is Oct. 26.