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Will Clovis School Board End Student Mask Rule Wednesday?



California's health guidance still requires masks for children in K-12 classrooms. (Shutterstock)
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The Clovis Unified School Board has scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday afternoon with one agenda item: Considering updating the protocols for student mask enforcement.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. and will be held in the boardroom at 1680 David E. Cook Way, Clovis.

School Board members could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. But they have been under increasing pressure from parents and children, dozens of whom spoke at last Wednesday’s board meeting in opposition to maintaining the state’s masking mandate.

The agenda item says the board will get an update from the COVID-19 Board Work Group and then “consider for action updates to protocols for K-12 student mask enforcement.”

Kristin Heimerdinger, a spokeswoman for the budding teachers union Association of Clovis Educators, said there was much talk Tuesday across the district that the mask mandate is coming to an end. She tweeted the following:

ACE is not taking a position on the mask mandate, she said.

But Heimerdinger said that unless the state changes its health rules, which now require masking for students in grades K-12, teachers could be in jeopardy of losing their teaching credentials if the board votes to remove the mask mandate and teachers do not enforce the state guidance.

“This is an uncomfortable place to put educators,” she said.

According to news reports, Roseville Joint Unified School District is at risk of losing its liability insurance after the district announced it would no longer require face masks indoors.

Clovis district spokeswoman Kelly Avants said she doesn’t expect the board will take action Wednesday to remove the mask mandate, since she said board members have indicated they don’t plan to disregard the state guidance.

However, the board will discuss enforcing the mask protocols after hearing a report from the three-member board work group, Avants said.

At last Wednesday’s board meeting, students and parents talked about the inconsistency of enforcement across the district as well as what happens to students who refuse to wear masks in school.

‘Unofficial’ Town Hall Meeting

Meanwhile, Trustee Dr. Steven G. Fogg will be featured at an “unofficial” town hall meeting for Clovis Unified parents and community members at 6 p.m. Thursday at Valley Vandals, 662 N. Pollasky in Clovis.

The debate may soon be moot. Gov. Gavin Newsom may discuss lifting the mask mandate by next Monday. Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s top health official, said last week that officials expect by Feb. 28 to be setting a date to recommend when masks will no longer be required.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email