Watertown Board of Education defeats face mask requirement on 3-2 vote  (Audio)

August 10, 2020
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.—The Watertown Board of Education has approved the “Return To School” plan for the Watertown School District when students return to the classroom this month.

The plan, “strongly recommends” students wear face coverings because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but does not make them mandatory during classroom time.

Board member Scott Hardie made a motion to amend the plan at Monday night’s meeting. The amendment would have required students in grades 5-12 to wear masks “whenever feasible,” and “recommend” them for students in Pre K-thru fourth grade.

Hardie conceded masks are an “inconvenience,” but says they’re the best option out there in the fight against COVID-19……

Board member Jean Moulton says masks are not for everyone…

Hardie’s amendment failed on a 3-2 vote. Hardie and Stephanie Lenards voted in favor. Moulton, Tammy Reiber and Stuart Stein voted against it.

Hardie says “strongly recommending” masks didn’t go far enough for him…

Reiber called the issue the, “most divisive” in her nine years on the board.

Watertown students return to school on August 27th.