The state Board of Education voted on Thursday against requiring Oklahoma public schools to wear masks. Instead, voting 4-3 to highly recommend the face cloths to be used in schools.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who cast one of the three no votes, says she was disappointed by the state board.
“(The) vote is very disappointing and one that likely will stoke more concerns for teachers, parents and families with a new school year only weeks away. We all realize how important it is for schools to reopen. But we are in the midst of a global pandemic with COVID-19 cases sharply rising in our state. I believe it entirely appropriate that the State Board establish a floor of recommended and required protocols to ensure a safer environment for all in the school community – teachers, staff and students.”
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The mask requirement was part of school safety protocols that the board was considering.
“Now that the board has made its decision, we strongly urge districts across the state to do the right thing and demonstrate the ‘Oklahoma Standard’ by masking up and following social distancing guidelines,” Hofmeister said. “In the meantime, the Oklahoma State Department of Education will continue working to secure the PPE our schools need.”