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West Lafayette School Corporation Approves Plan Requiring Masks Among K-6 Students

West Lafayette School Corporation board meeting Monday (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

The West Lafayette Community School Corporation board unanimously approved a school reopening plan Monday night requiring K-6 students to wear masks while in school. 

Both unvaccinated students and staff in K-6 schools will be required to wear masks, and vaccinated staff will be encouraged to continue masking. 

In grades 7-12 masks will be encouraged but not required for either staff or students regardless of their vaccination status. 

The CDC currently recommends continued masking in schools for those who aren’t fully vaccinated. The majority of K-6 students are not yet eligible for a vaccine.

Schools across the state are in the process of deciding what - if any - COVID-19 restrictions to put in place for the fall. Both the Lafayette School Corporation and Tippecanoe School Corporation have decided to make masks optional. 

Interim Superintendent Ross Sloat said the plan was developed with Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler and other health officials. He continued to underscore that the plan was fluid and could be changed. 

“Not everybody’s going to be happy. We’ll do what best we can. Like I said, 30 days away from school - I think that’s what  the public needs to know,” he said. “It’s a fluid thing and we monitor it and can make changes if we need to.”

Parents in attendance were overwhelmingly opposed to the masking plan. 

Katie Schmidt said she has three kids currently within the corporation but may pull them because of the mandate. 

“I will be looking for alternatives for my kids and I know other parents who will be doing that,” she said. “This is, like I said, clear discrimination.”

School board members were quick to point out that while parents in attendance were opposed to requiring masks for students, they had received emails from parents in support of a mandate.

Amy Austin is a member of the West Lafayette School Corporation Board. She urged the community to be supportive of the schools masking policies because it will make it easier for students. 

“As parents we have a lot of influence and a lot of responsibility to be supportive of the rules that are being put in place to protect the most vulnerable among us,” she said. “Rules are different at school than at home, that’s just how it is.”