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Mask questions still prevalent

The Oct. 12 Saucon Valley School Board meeting was extraordinarily brief, as board directors breezed their way through the district’s usual business. The meeting, sans the public comments after the business portion, ran for a duration of barely five minutes.

The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to residents’ comments and complaints on a number of topics, mostly regarding Governor Tom Wolf’s statewide mask mandate in schools.

Amy Ramsberger, a parent who claimed at the previous meeting that her elementary-aged daughter was admitted to a local hospital for “severe dehydration” due to her mask, asked if former Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler’s prior assertion that teachers and staff would be reminded of ‘mask break’ policies was followed.

Acting Superintendent Jaime Vlasaty asserted that Butler’s prior answer stood, and that reminder emails have been sent. “All teachers received a directive… that they are to be giving masking breaks during every period,” she said.

Another resident whose name was not audible asked if the state of Pennsylvania had released any updated guidance regarding the masking orders. District Solicitor Mark Fitzgerald said his understanding was that their announcement was simply that nothing was changing and that the order would be revisited in “early November, perhaps Nov. 1.”

A third commenter whose name was also not audible cited several pieces of legislation in an attempt to poke holes in the district’s legal duty to enforce the mask mandate. While Fitzgerald agreed with her that the order was “poorly-written,” in his opinion, it does not allow for “shades of gray,” which the commenter claimed.

None of the three commenters – who have all spoken at recent meetings – were masked, despite the statewide order pertaining to all school premises whether students are present or not. As with prior meetings, nobody on the board or in administration made any attempt to enforce the order.

Press photo by Chris Haring District parent Amy Ramsberger inquires about the district's policy on ‘mask breaks' for elementary students.