CHURUBUSCO, Ind. (WFFT) -- Smith-Green Community Schools will be enacting a temporary mask requirement beginning on Monday.
The school board voted unanimously 5-0.
It held a special meeting on Thursday to discuss and vote in light of Gov. Holcomb’s new executive order that reduces the number of students that will have to quarantine if masks are required.
SGCS just went back to in-person learning after almost two weeks of virtual learning due to increasing cases of COVID-19 when the school year began.
How long it will last will be based on Whitley County metrics, according to Superintendent Daniel Hile.
He said if the county can stay in a yellow or blue advisory level, the two lowest levels, for two weeks, the schools will go back to mask-optional.
Hile asked the board to consider the requirement, and he said when he saw the unanimous vote, it was bittersweet.
“Obviously I’m thankful that our board felt comfortable approving this plan I presented,” Hile explained. “But at the same time, I know how difficult this is for our families. I know how challenging this is. And I know how many concerns are out there with masks, and I appreciate and value those concerns.
“I hope our families feel that this is not a permanent change. All of us want this to be a temporary change. But it will be designed to just help us see through this difficult period.”
Hile also said during the meeting there will be opportunities for students to have mask breaks throughout the day once the requirement begins.
Speakers at the meeting were split on requiring masks or keeping them optional.
Regardless of where people stood on the issue, Hile said people in the district respect each other’s opinions.
He said that’s one of the reasons he’s stayed in the community for over 18 years.
“I feel like this community, one of its absolute strengths is that when we face a tough choice, even if we have to discuss that, even if we have to disagree on that, this community is great at rallying together again and working together and remembering that we are all friends and neighbors,” Hile said.
He said he will send SGCS parents more information about the new requirement on Friday.