Health care workers want required masking in Appleton, Neenah schools

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 8:51 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 10:13 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - With weeks to go before the start of school, the debate over masking continues to heat up.

On Wednesday more than one hundred area health care workers signed a letter asking the Neenah and Appleton Area school districts to reconsider a policy allowing for optional masking of students and staff.

The two letters submitted by Dr. Elizabeth Menzel, urged that masking be required inside all schools, regardless of vaccination status.

“Masking is one of the best weapons we have to prevent the further spread of COVID,” said Dr. Menzel, of Mosaic Family Health.

The issue has come up in both Appleton and Neenah, where school boards last week, approved a mitigation plan which included optional masking.

Dr. Menzel added, “I know that obviously the last year and a half has been really difficult on a lot of people but I hope we can encourage our schools to be able to kind of change the current stance.”

In the letter to Neenah Dr. Menzel cites an average of 17 cases per day now being reported in Winnebago County, a 183 percent increase from the average two weeks ago.

However, Dr. Mary Pfeiffer, school superintendent says the data the board looks at, is much more specific.

She added, “What we do is at a very granular level is look at the data or prevalence and incidents in classrooms, in schools, in our entire district. So sometimes that can mean what people see posted can be a lot different story than what we’re dealing with in our schools.”

In a statement the Appleton Area School District said, “The District Leadership Team will collaborate with local public health officials to review cases and data on a continuous basis.”

Both Neenah and Appleton school administrators say their policies are flexible enough, to allow changes to be made as the school year progresses.

Any changes could target the entire district or even specific schools that might have an outbreak.

You can read the full letters below.

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