WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A week after abruptly canceling a meeting because new members would not wear face masks, the Wichita school board met. This time the meeting went according to plan.

The first meeting of 2022 was called to order, with all of the board members wearing masks this time. One board member attended remotely, saying she was sick with COVID-19. While masks were not on the agenda, 10 people were signed up to speak, and many of those people shared their thoughts on the current mandate.

“There is psychological, emotional and physical that you are causing to our children by forcing them to wear a mask,” said Matthew Farenbaugh, a parent who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Masks make the vast majority of us feel safe, and it is infuriating when adults try to speak for how we feel,” said Pandora Freeman, a freshman who attends Wichita Public Schools.

During the three-hour meeting, new member Diane Albert asked that COVID protocols be discussed at the next meeting.

“We can deal with those schools separately instead of making a blanket one size fits all plan,” said Albert.

“I was very pleased with the direction of the board. Today, I think it was crucial that we get this meeting in and to reassure the public that we are focused on our students and our staff,” said Stan Reeser, the school board president.

The next school board meeting will be in February, but the school board president said there might be a special meeting as cases continue to rise.