W-M drops masking requirement
January 19, 2022
By MEGAN HUGHES
Wakefield — The Wakefield-Marenisco School Board discussed the continuation of COVID-19 masking policies at its monthly meeting on Monday evening.
The topic of masking has been an ongoing conversation during past meetings, with concerns being raised by several of the board members about the effectiveness of the procedure.
At the previous meeting, held in December 2021, the board had voted to continue the masking procedure until Jan. 20, with plans to revisit at Monday’s meeting.
A vote to continue the mask mandate failed on a 3-3 tied vote, with trustee Marsha Vestich absent from the meeting. Board president Brad Dalbec and trustees Micki Sorensen and Stacie Rooni voted no, while trustees Mike Yon, Brandon Yuchaz and Kim Zeckovich voted yes.
Masks are still recommended, but will not be enforced, and the decision to mask will be left to the parents, according to Dalbec.
“I don’t agree with the mask mandate, I haven’t from the start, so I’m going to vote no,” said Dalbec as he voted. “I need to stay consistent with what I have said in the past. I don’t believe that these masks are the answer.”
In other news, the board:
—Held an annual reorganization meeting, selecting the same officers: Dalbec as president, Sorensen as vice president, Rooni as secretary and Zeckovich as treasurer.
—Read the letter of retirement of business manager Tina Trevarthen, who will be retiring on June 30, allowing time to find and train a replacement. Trevarthen said, ideally, she would like three months to train a replacement for her duties.
—Discussed the current driver’s education policy at the school, specifically a requirement that a student must pass all of his or her classes to participate. After discussion, the board voted to no longer make academic grades play a part in eligibility for the course. “Especially because we live in a district that students can’t easily walk to school,” said Sorensen.
—Heard an update of COVID-19 numbers. At the time of the meeting, there was one staff member and four students out with COVID-19.
—Heard and approved a bid for windows from Nasi construction.
—Set the next meeting date for Feb. 28, due to school not being in session on Feb. 21, due to President’s Day.
—Acknowledged that petitions to run for school board can be picked up at the Gogebic County Courthouse in Bessemer. Due date for these is July 26. There are four four-year term seats and two two-year term seats up for election in the fall.