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CCSD board meeting tangled with mask-wearing debate

CCSD Trustee Katie Williams (KSNV)
CCSD Trustee Katie Williams (KSNV)
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"Take the masks off our children" was the rallying call Thursday night at the Clark County School District meeting.

The demand to remove masks at schools was made by several parents, educators and other community members.

Mask-wearing even became an issue that brought the meeting to a brief halt.

"Trustee [Katie] Williams, I didn't realize you had taken off your mask until a constituent had stated that," said Linda Cavazos, CCSD Board of Trustees President.

Cavazos called Williams, a trustee on the board, for not wearing a mask during Thursday's meeting.

"May I respectfully ask you to please put that on?" Cavazos said.

"I'm going to respectfully decline," Williams replied.

"Trustee Williams, do you have (crowd member) do you have a medical reason, Trustee Williams?" Cavazos asked.

"I don't think medically you can ask me that," replied Williams.

This exchange prompted a five-minute recess with the board attorney eventually responding.

"Her mask-wearing, or lack thereof, at this time is in compliance with the CDC guidelines, which Governor Sisolak indicated today we should follow," explained Mary-Anne Miller, CCSD Board Attorney.

The mask debate was not on the agenda for Thursday's meeting, but it dominated public comment.

"There is no need for any individual to wear one, especially children," said one member of the community.

Members of the public, one by one, demanded the mask requirement be removed from CCSD schools.

"Let children smile at their friends," said another.

Others argued that masks could do mental harm.

"We have gone from calling them a mask to a face covering. It becomes clear that the goal to block out the human face and ultimately block out human connection is total isolation for our children," another member of the community said.

Superintendent Jesus Jara was asked about the CDC mask recommendations and what Sisolak's response will mean for students and staff.

Does that mean that as of Friday, students and staff who are vaccinated can come to class without a mask on?

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"Well, no, not tomorrow. What we're going to look at is -- I've reached out to the county and now we're waiting for the county -- working with the county to look and see what we need to do. Most likely nothing going to happen tomorrow," replied Dr. Jara.

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