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BOE Votes 3-2 Against Mask Mandate

August 4th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

The Allegany County Board of Education Tuesday approved a back to school plan that strongly recommends, but does not require masking. By a 3-2 vote, following nearly two hours of discussion, the board approved a plan for in-person, weekday instruction for the school year which begins August 25th. The board meeting began with a presentation from Allegany County Health Officer Janelle Mayer and deputy director Jennifer Corder. Given the county’s low vaccination rates for the general population as well as for students- both strongly advised that students and teachers wear a face covering to start the school year- with the goal being to avoid cases of quarantine.

Much of the debate centered on whether to mandate, or simply recommend that masks be worn. Board member Deb Frank cautioned that unvaccinated teachers or students not wearing masks will inevitably lead to mass quarantining for students systemwide…

Board president Crystal Bender said she preferred to have a policy that recommends, but not mandate at this time…

Ultimately Bender, Frank and board member Tammy Fraley voted in support of a plan which contains language that will allow the flexibility to adopt future state recommendations and guidelines without having to take another vote. Board members Robert Farrell and David Bohn voted against the plan- both preferring to see the board actually make a decision and submit a document that is not simply a carbon copy of the state proposal.