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A unanimously approved resolution advocates for greater alignment between CDC and OHA

PMG SCREENSHOT - Members of the Estacada School Board approved a resolution advocating for local control regarding face masks and other COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The Estacada School Board has advocated for local control regarding face masks and other COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The board of directors unanimously approved the resolution during a meeting Thursday, Aug. 12, after Gov. Kate Brown announced in late July that masks would be required in school buildings during the upcoming year.

"This is not a declaration to not have masks required in schools. This is a declaration to say that that decision should be made at the local level," said Estacada School Board Chair Ken Riedel. "We are not saying yes or no. We're saying it should be our decision to make, not a statewide decision to be made from somebody who has no connection to our community."

Earlier in the Aug. 12 meeting, Estacada School District Superintendent Ryan Carpenter said he had received more than 700 emails from community members expressing a variety of viewpoints regarding the stateside mask mandate.

Prior to the mandate, Estacada School District leaders sought community feedback and created a return to a school plan in which face masks were optional but encouraged for those who had not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The resolution "insists(s) that the governing authority for school safety protocols be returned to locally elected school board members, recognize(s) the significant number of requests for parental choice coupled with other parents advocating for continued masking to maximize COVID-19 prevention (and) advocate(s) for parental choice for masking and vaccinating their children."

Additionally, the mandate "advocate(s) for further guidance from the state of Oregon on how to enforce the state's masking requirement when the district can no longer suspend students for willful defiance, nor can a student's educational rights be taken away to remove them unwillingly to independent study or online school."

The mandate also calls for alignment between the CDC and Oregon Health Authority "for masking and other health related guidance so that confusion, instability and political divide do not enter in the COVID-19 debate."

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