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Board member proposes making mask-wearing optional at Boulder Valley schools

Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday that Colorado has seen a rapid increase in COVID cases within middle and high schoolers in recent weeks.

BOULDER, Colo. — A Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) member suggested making mask-wearing optional for students and staff in school.

Board member Donna Miers shared the proposal on Tuesday evening at a regularly scheduled meeting.

"I'm a bit anxious to breathe with this on, so I can understand what a lot of the parents were saying," Miers said at the meeting. "I believe it’s time to allow parents the decision of allowing their children to wear or not wear the face masks or these coverings."

While some parents who spoke during public comment shared a similar sentiment, some did not. BVSD parent Katie Farnan said she was appalled after hearing about the attempted policy change. 

"It's terrifying for me to think that my kid is going to be put at risk for COVID," Farnan told 9NEWS. "Especially given they're the fastest growing, as far as I understood yesterday from Gov. Polis, the fastest growing segment of infections is coming from the 11 to 17-year-old age group."

On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) said the state had seen a rapid increase in COVID cases within middle and high schoolers. State officials said school-associated outbreaks were also on the rise.

RELATED: COVID case rates spiking among children, much higher in counties with low vaccination rates

Miers' motion to make masks optional did not pass, but she did ask for it to become an agenda item at a future meeting, so BVSD may see the issue come up again.

Miers emailed the following statement to 9NEWS:

"After receiving dozens of letters and listening to many well-educated parents and educators on the mask issue, I am simply advocating for parents, students and staff to have the option of wearing a mask or not. Because there is no consensus on this issue (i.e., Executive Order D 2021 079, issued by Governor Polis “requires people in Colorado who are 11 years and older to wear a mask over their noses and mouths when entering or within the following public and private settings.” Under the questions section “Do children need to wear a mask in school?” the website states, “Students ages 3-10: The Executive Order does not require masks for this age group (emphasis added)), I am advocating for choice in the matter."

RELATED: CU & CSU plan to require the COVID-19 vaccine for returning students