The superintendents of both the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District and the Galt Joint Union High School District provided statements to the Herald regarding the mask protests among students. GJUESD Superintendent Lois Yount sent a letter Feb. 16 to parents at Lake Canyon Elementary School, which saw some of the largest numbers of students declining to wear masks. GJUHSD Superintendent Lisa Pettis wrote about the “messy situation” for districts in an email. Read their full statements below:

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Lois Yount

GJUESD Superintendent

Our No. 1 goal is keeping our school open for in-person learning while keeping students, staff and parents safe. We sincerely appreciate students and parents supporting this goal by following the California Department of Public Health mandatory masking indoors in public and private K-12 settings. Please see the letter from the County of Sacramento Public Health Officer.

Today, we had approximately 100 students not wearing a mask at Lake Canyon. We will continue to move students not wearing a mask to an alternative educational setting. Beginning tomorrow, students will be in the Bright Future Learning Center, multipurpose room and outside at tables.

Students moving to an alternative setting will be provided grade level curriculum in packets, workbooks, and on Chromebooks. Students will be supported by substitute teachers and administration. Students are expected to follow all school and classroom rules while in an alternative setting.

We strongly discourage parents from disrupting the school environment. Parents will be asked to leave campus if they are chanting, cheering, talking to students, or passing out food/drink. Protests, cheering, or chanting has to take place off the school campus.

Following the policy as outlined in the Lake Canyon parent handbook, food items are not allowed to be brought in the classrooms due to food allergies and the district/school wellness policies regarding healthy eating habits. Food and drinks brought in by parents will remain in the office to be picked up.

We are listening to the varying parent and public opinions regarding masking in schools. Please know we are required to comply with current health orders that are designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus so we can keep our school open. We encourage parents to contact Local Officials with your opinions and concerns.

Thank you for your continued support.

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Lisa Pettis

GJUHSD Superintendent

I can only speak for myself, and that is, I have been very patient with the ever-changing mandates, and I understand the seriousness of COVID, and my heart aches for those who have lost family and friends to this deadly virus, as I too have lost a family member and a close friend, but with the recent decision to lift the mask mandate in most public places, but make schools wait until Feb. 28 for the Governor’s announcement is a head-scratcher.

I am trying to find the logic in that decision. These same students and staff can be maskless in most public places but are still required to wear a mask at school makes little to no sense, and then you throw in the elected officials who attended an NFL playoff game and Super Bowl maskless, the same elected officials that are mandating masks, just adds fuel to the fire.

School districts have been put in the middle of a messy situation. Teachers, students, administration and parents are dealing with unprecedented times, and it has been a two-year struggle. We are exhausted. We look forward to hearing the governor’s announcement on Feb. 28.