SUAMICO, Wis.(WFRV)- On Monday the Howard-Suamico School District announced their plan to change the face coverings requirement for students in grades K-6.

“The last couple of months, we’ve heard community members both supporting and wanting to remove the masking for this grade level,” said Gaary Sievert, School Board President.

The students in grades K-6 will join grades 7-12 in the optional masking policy. Sievert says they took a survey of families and staff in order to make the recommendation to District Administration. “We surveyed the community and got 1,940 responses. Of those 920 were from grades K-6. We analyzed the data and came up with 58% of responses indicated the removal of masking,” said Sievert.

Scott Stromberger has children who attend school within the District and thinks the requirement should stay in place. “That was the next step for a policy decision for administration to make masking optional. Myself and others kind of saw this coming, but didn’t think it would be so soon right after the holiday break,” said Stromberger.

Stromberger says that both of his children have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and will be masking up in January. “The Omicron variant has been shown to spread more rapidly and is more contagious,” Sievert says the Board took a hard look at data, in making their decision. ” We took a look at our own dashboard data and found that our numbers within our District, with our students, have been relatively low and consistent.”

For a closer look at the policy and other Howard-Suamico District information visit the COVID-19 hotline and information tab at the top of the website: https://www.hssdschools.org The District also says an email communication will be sent out to families and staff on Thursday December 16th with more information.