Masks remain optional at Edwardsburg Public Schools

EDWARDSBURG — Following a vote by the board of education, masks will remain optional for students and staff at Edwardsburg Public Schools.

In a six to one vote, the Edwardsburg Board of Education voted to keep to its current back to school plan at a special meeting of the board Wednesday. The vote continues to make mask wearing optional for students and staff everywhere except for on busses, where masks are mandatory to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Trustee Natalie Frentz was the sole “no” vote.

Prior to the board’s vote, nearly an hour of public comment took place, with parents and community members sharing their opinions on masks in schools.

Many parents in attendance opposed a mask mandate saying that masks impede student learning, create social barriers or that a mandate would intrude on parent rights.

“We’ve heard the science, we’ve seen the data, and we are using our discretion as parents and our free will given by God to make these choices for our children,” said Erin Smith, a parent from Vandalia. “We want the freedom of choice.”

While many in attendance expressed support for a mask-optional approach, several community members supported a masking mandate and express their concerns with the county’s rising COVID-19 cases.

“if this piece of material [a mask] is what is going to keep my kids healthy and in school, then I want them wearing it,” said Lindsey Prochko, mother of three EPS students and a JV softball coach. “If we don’t wear masks this year, I have a couple of questions. First, are parents prepared for a two-week shutdown? Are you prepared to be a virtual teacher again? I know I’m not.”

The district’s current mask-optional policy will remain in place unless masking becomes mandated by the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

While the local health department has not yet issued a mask mandate in schools, it has strongly recommended that all individuals wear masks in public, indoor areas, regardless of vaccination status.

Berrien County

CFCN hosting flu, COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Business

Under the Harvest Moon Festival to offer children’s activities

News

Niles man, 13-year-old passenger killed in Sodus Township crash

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Old Rugged Cross Church hosts church, museum dedication

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Elks hosting annual Guys and Dolls Golf Outing

News

New general surgeon seeing patients in Niles

Edwardsburg

Michigan Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall stops in Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg

PHOTO STORY: Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce hosts fall festival

News

Niles man sentenced to probation for drunk driving

News

PHOTO STORY: Uptown Fright Fest a success

News

PHOTO STORY: Niles student crowned Miss Apple Festival 2021

News

Three injured in Howard Township crash

Dowagiac

Medical event causes car to crash into Dowagiac Burger King

Cass County

Cassopolis man sent to prison on drug charges

Dowagiac

SMC recognized for turning students into citizens

Dowagiac

ETS program awarded grant from Department of Education

Cass County

Dowagiac man who broke elementary school windows sentenced to probation

Dowagiac

Changes to retirement benefits cause for concern among Cass County employees

News

Niles first ward residents ask for an end to gun violence in their community

Buchanan

Buchanan Area Senior Center raising funds to convert porch into sunroom

Cass County

Man arrested on drug charges in Mason Township

Cass County

Cass County Commissioners approve grant for Dowagiac River restoration

Business

Lyons Industries donates 12 thermal imaging cameras to Indian Lake Volunteer Fire Department

Cass County

Niles man seriously injured in motorcycle crash