APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) — The Appleton Area School District voted to continue requiring masks for all students and staff at a Monday night board meeting.
"It's psychological, biological war," former student Gary Ewer said. "And the victims right now are our kids."
Members of the community were prohibited from speaking to the AASD board in person without a face covering.
So Ewer attended what organizers called their own meeting at the Freedom Project Academy, where over a dozen Appleton parents talked to board members on video chat — all advocated against the mask mandate.
"It's used to sell the idea that there's some scary disease that's killing everybody, and that's just not true," Ewer said.
Less than one percent of the district's students are currently positive with Covid-19.
"When you mask people, it strips them of identity and it makes them submissive and it breaks their will," Ewer said.
Appleton resident Mark Scheffler rallied outside the district offices to say 'thank you' for the mask requirement.
"Keeping everybody safe is a great idea and masking really helps," he said.
Out of almost 16,000 students, just 41 are at home with the coronavirus.
"I wanted to come out just to lend my support for the Appleton Area School District and the school board in helping to keep us and our kids safe," Scheffler said.
The board is set to review the policy on Nov. 22.
"I think the school board is doing the best that they can through a really difficult situation," Scheffler said. "No one planned years ago that they were gonna go through a global pandemic."
There are currently just eight AASD staff members with Covid-19 and 49 students quarantined.
The board says vaccination will play a big part in a decision to lift the mask mandate.