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School masking debate heats up


August 13, 2021

Contributed Photo

Fifth grader Anja VanderMeiden asks the Cloquet School Board to make masks optional when school starts again in September. She was homeschooled last year because of Covid-19, but is excited to get back to school in person. "I am worried that I will have to wear a mask," she read. "Nobody will know who I am and it will be hard to make new friends."

Local school board members faced crowded board rooms this week as parents and others turned out in opposition to school districts requiring masks when kids return to school after Labor Day. Unlike last fall, there is no statewide state of emergency, which means decisions are local.

Board members in Cloquet and Esko listened attentively to their constituents, but made no promises this week. Rather, they scheduled special meetings to discuss the issue in greater depth, and said they will wait to get up-to-date data closer to the start of school before they tackle any pandemic restrictions, if...

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