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Parents, community members sponsor billboard in response to ECASD's mask policy

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - A new billboard has gone up on the 600 block of East Madison St., and it's advertising asks 'Is this your choice?' in regards to the Eau Claire Area School District's mask policy.

The signage has already prompted calls to school officials. 

Cyndi Burton, a sponsor of the billboard, said the billboard was a next resort, and a way to 'raise awareness' so that other parents may voice their concerns to the school's administration, and the health department.

"We are not being heard. Our concerns are not being addressed, and the children in our school district are paying the price. We have sent countless emails, provided numerous expert resources, given public comment," said Burton. 

While the callers to the ECASD administration were in support of the district's mitigation strategies, school board officials realize the masking policy is not a 'fix-all' for everyone.

"The struggle is that you know, we can't make everybody happy with a single solution, and so people that would not have a mask mandate may feel like they're not being listened to, but we really are listening to every bit of input we get from people that want masks or from people that don't want masks" said Tim Nordin, ECASD school board president.

The school district regularly seeks guidance from the Eau Claire City-County Health Department on layered approaches, like mask wearing and symptom screening to combat spread of COVID-19.

Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director, Lieske Giese, said, "It is our obligation by statute to do that, and we work really hard to make sure that K through 12 schools are spaces where there's good information available from the health department about communicable disease, whether it's about a measles case, or related to COVID-19."

According to Nordin, the issue goes beyond the classroom.

"There have been a few people and repeated requests saying that we should not have masks, but overall what the board has received is actually overwhelmingly in favor of having our students masked for safety," continued Nordin, "The issue really isn't a kids issue, the kids are happy to be back in school and if wearing a mask is what they need to do, they they're happy to be there."

Burton said the billboard will remain up until Nov. 14, 2021. 

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