Hastings Public School Board votes 5-3 to drop their mask requirement

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 7:59 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) -The Hastings Public School Board voted Monday night, 5-3, to drop their mask requirement on all of their campuses, effective May 12. The mandate has been in effect since the beginning of the school year.

With cases of COVID-19 staying steadily low in Hastings recently, the school board decided this was a good time to make the change.

A few parents spoke out at the meeting Monday night, all of them encouraging the board to drop the requirement.

“I was told in the fall that we have to have the same mandates to stay in step with all the other schools in the area,” one HPS mother told the board. “Is this no longer true? Because Adams Central, Saint Cecelia and several other schools no longer have mask mandates.”

The school’s superintendent, Jeff Schneider, was the person to bring the suggestion to the board, and he said the other schools dropping their requirements was actually a factor.

“It certainly plays into it,” he told Local4 News. “I think as more and more schools drop the mandate, the more questions we have from parents and staff about when we can be in that situation.”

Schneider said he’s just glad they even got to a place where they can consider dropping precaution, after spending many months not knowing what their future looked like.

“When we look back to August, we didn’t know what the next few months had in store for us,” he said. “Specifically, I think back to like around the first of November. Our community was struggling with a lot of positive cases. Our school was struggling with a lot of positive cases, a lot of absences, a lot of quarantine. We wondered where things would go from there.”

The 2020/2021 school year is almost over, but the changes will last for students in summer school.

Masks will still be required at graduation.

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