Papillion La Vista Community Schools will not require masks this school year

Masks will be recommended for those not vaccinated
Posted at 10:42 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 23:45:50-04

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — At Monday night's board meeting, Papillion La Vista Community Schools said masks will be recommended but not required this school year.

They said parents will be notified when their child is exposed and staff will be notified if a child they teach tests positive for the virus. There will not be school-wide communication for individual cases.

Superintendent Andrew Rikli says he believes in masks and vaccines, but he adds he listened to both sides in his decision-making.

"I firmly believe that parent rights override those of the school district. We believe in the rights for those to do what’s best for their children. So my ask, in short, is can we set aside our differences and give each other a bit of grace," Rikli said.

At the meeting, parents were able to make public comments. Supporters for a mask mandate as well as those who are opposed to one were both present.

Those who want a mask mandate in the district say they are worried about the health of students, as well as other family members children may bring the virus home to. One parent said the board should be listening to the experts and not the opinions of parents.

"Opinions are good at choosing playground equipment or polling for the best restaurant in the city but healthcare decisions should be rooted in facts science and expertise," one parent said.

Others say parents should be allowed to make the decision for their family without the district telling them what to do. Some said a mandate may affect their decision to keep their children in the school district.

"As a parent in this school district, I do not want to see masks come back. Personally, I think it’s child abuse," a parent who opposes mask mandates said.

The district did say the protocols will be fluid and they will re-evaluate if needed as they monitor cases.

Coronavirus Resources and Information

Johns Hopkins global coronavirus tracker