District 12 Board of Education hosts meeting to discuss mask mandates

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– The Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 Board of Education hosted a community meeting on Monday, Aug. 30 starting at 5:30 p.m. to discuss mask mandates with community members.

Tensions ran high as individuals came to the mic to voice their thoughts and opinions.

“We’ve been dealing with this pandemic for almost two years now…what is the definition of science? It is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment…The science on mask-wearing has changed so often. Let parents decide what’s best for their children,” said one parent.

Kim Fuchs, a community member and a new resident to Colorado Springs, gestured to her homemade chart and said, “I’m here to speak about mask efficiency. This University of Waterloo study said that this mask that you provided to me is 12% effective. The cloth mask is 10% effective. That’s the one the kids wear. 90% of the stuff coming out of their face is reaching people. Masks don’t work.”

Another parent tried to stress to board members that this is not about mask efficacy, but this is about keeping children in schools.

“I appreciate this school board and their decision to protect our children,” she said.

Another parent cited that a minimal to none number of children lost their lives to the virus.

“COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weak-mindedness of the public schools, teacher unions and the CDC. I’m gonna name some facts for you: COVID poses no threat to our school or children. In this country, 4.2 million people are children that contacted COVID during the pandemic. Do you know what the death threat was? .0002%,” he said.

A brief fact check for the death toll number reveals that the CDC reported from January 4, 2020, until August 21, 2021, that 454 children, between ages 0 to 18, have died from COVID-19 in the United States.

Others spoke out about the benefits of Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and other medications. Each of these medications has been shared profusely online and are often hawked as COVID-19 cures–some by former President Donald Trump. However, each have been proven to be unhelpful in curing the virus but in some cases, a few can be incredibly dangerous for human consumption.

The D12 Medical Advisory Board, comprised of nine medical professionals, presented a slideshow to the board, encouraging in-person learning while also following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Kindness, gratitude and civil discourse is our best course of action as we engage with difficult decisions with far from ideal interactions,” said Dr. Betsy Kleiner, an infectious disease specialist based out of Colorado Springs.

The committee said that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends a “layered mitigation approach” to allow children to attend school as normally as possible while also masking indoors, instituting physical distancing, encouraging vaccinations and more. To see the full mitigation plan, click here.

“Universal masking is one of those opportunities to promote in-person learning,” said a member of the board.

As the board members presented, attendees at the meeting were heard over the live stream shouting “Vote Them Off”, “Hear Our Voice” and “USA”.

Presenters from the medical advisory board also referenced this data from El Paso County Public Health.

The board said that the following cities and school districts are requiring masks: Manitou Springs, Pueblo, never Public Schools, Douglas County, Jeffco Public Schools, Poudre School District, Boulder Valley, Cherry Creek, Tri-County, Adams County and Westminster.

If 70% or greater of staff and students in an individual school are vaccinated, the board said that no masks would be required for anyone regardless of vaccination status, no quarantining, regardless of vaccination status and a case by case review for quarantine needs. A similar situation would occur should 70% or greater of unvaccinated staff and students participate in weekly COVID-19 testing.

“I am tired of COVID as well. It has run all of our lives, in hospitals and out,” said Dr. Kleiner. “There will continue to be state-required school/individual interventions to prevent quarantine until El Paso County has a 70% or greater vaccination rate of all individuals older than 12 years or community transmission is less than 35 cases per 100,000 people over a 7 day period. As of Friday, Aug. 27, we are at a 210.7 one-week cumulative incidence rate.

To learn more about CDC guidelines for and the tracking of the COVID-19 virus, click here.

To learn more about Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, click here.

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