When Shannon Jensen and Gina Kildahl sent their children back to their Wisconsin schools during the last school year, everyone had to wear masks. But when school resumed this fall, that was not the case — even as health experts warned that masks were necessary to keep a new highly contagious coronavirus variant from sweeping through classrooms.
Jensen and Kildahl both sent their sons to their elementary schools in masks anyway. Jensen’s son attends Rose Glen Elementary School in Waukesha, outside Milwaukee. Kildahl’s son goes to school about 200 miles away at Fall Creek Elementary, between Green Bay and Minneapolis.
Just weeks into the new school year, both boys tested positive for the coronavirus. Lawsuits filed this month in two Wisconsin federal courts blame what they describe as the schools’ lax policies on masks, quarantining and contact tracing.
Both the boards of education for the School District of Waukesha and the School District of Fall Creek had voted to end many of the coronavirus mitigation policies that had been in place last year, according to the two lawsuits. That included getting rid of universal mask requirements.
The moves defied strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the lawsuits add. Jensen’s lawsuit was filed in a federal court in eastern Wisconsin on Oct. 6. Kildahl’s lawsuit was filed on Monday in Wisconsin’s western district court.
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