DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — On Thursday morning, parents of Aspen View Academy received an email suggesting the school could respond to Tri-County Health's mask mandate with one of three options.
In an email Troy Schroeder, the school board president, provided the following options:
A. Comply and enforce strict mask wearing at AVA (Aspen View Academy) at all times – no exceptions (a lot like last year).
B. Do our best to comply and allow students and staff to make decisions about their
own health while masking.
C. Completely ignore the public health order all together.
Currently, the school is mandated to follow Tri-County Health's mask mandate issued on Monday. However, AVA is located in Douglas County, and commissioners there are currently trying to establish an independent public health department.
"[Douglas County constituents] they, too, would like to withdraw from Tri-County Health and have Douglas County residents making decisions for Douglas County residents." commissioner George Teal said in an interview with Denver7 on Wednesday.
Thursday evening, ahead of a special meeting to discuss mask wearing, Schroder elaborated on the content of his letter.
"Those three options [in the letter] seem to capture the essence of what we're hearing from our parents, and civil disobedience — not to be unlawful in any way — it is an option, but how far is this parent community willing to go on this?" the board president said.
Some parents said it's too far and shared their thoughts on the condition of anonymity.
"I was dismayed, very saddened by it all. I can't believe this is where we're at with the pandemic," one parent said.
"My view is let's follow the mandate until we can at least get our kids vaccinated, which I think is going to be at the end of the year, and then we can continue to reevaluate it," another parent said.
During Thursday's meeting, others publicly shared their support of the board president's letter and the idea of defying the mask mandate.
"I will always be for freedom and liberty over government control, and, as always, our [school] mascot is a wolf and not a sheep," one father said during public comment.
"This is not about our health. It's about control and conditioning our children to shut their mouth and do as they're told," another parent said.
Regardless of what side parents find themselves on, Schroeder said Thursday's meeting would bring school leadership no closer to making any decisions on the future of masks in AVA.
"What we do or don't do is going to upset somebody, unfortunately, and based on my unofficial poll, it's going to upset at least half of the school one way or another." he said.
Tri-County Health referred Denver7 to this policy document when contacted about the situation.