By Tom Tolen /

A special meeting of the Brighton Board of Education has been called for next Tuesday, Dec. 7th to discuss, and possibly take action on the contentious issue of whether to require masks in the Brighton Area Schools. Two board members - Angela Krebs and Laura Mitchell - drafted a resolution to be presented by Vice President Alicia Reid at the meeting which, in effect, would mandate masking for students and staff inside all BAS school buildings.

The resolution, if passed, would direct superintendent Matthew Outlaw "to adopt administrative guidelines for the use of facial coverings when there is elevated risk of transmission of communicable disease….and take all other steps necessary to immediately implement the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) recommendation of Nov. 19, 2021, for the use of facial coverings in all indoor settings…” However, Board President Roger Myers emphasized that, in his words, This is not an administration proposal.”

The masking resolution is listed below.

Myers said that quarantining is a separate issue, and while it is not on the agenda for the meeting, that it undoubtedly “will be a topic of discussion.” Both Trustee Bill Trombley and fellow Trustee John Conely have strongly urged the board to eliminate quarantining of asymptomatic students who have been exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom by another student. At the Oct. 25th board meeting, Trombley and Conely stated that quarantines are detrimental to students’ educations by forcing those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus to stay home for 10 days without getting the benefit of classroom instruction.

The Livingston County Health Department accepted a proposed pilot from all county superintendents to revise. In that proposal, the guidelines were revised to only exclude those with symptoms, those exposed outside of school including the home or those in a cluster of cases. The hastily prepared Oct. 25th motion, which was not on the regular agenda, failed 5-2, with Conely and Trombley being its only supporters. Although Board President Myers said he is personally opposed to quarantining students, he stated it would have to go through the proper channels, such committee review, before he would consider voting in favor of it.

Conely reiterated Friday that he is against mandating the wearing of masks in school. He said he had no idea whether the resolution would pass or fail. When previously presented, it failed 4-3, with members Alicia Reid, Angela Krebs and Laura Mitchell voting in favor and Myers, Trombley, Conely and Ken Stahl opposed.

Tuesday’s meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the board meeting room of the BECC building at East Main and Church streets. It will also be live-streamed via YouTube.