The Redmond School Board on Monday will hold a special meeting to possibly reconsider a controversial resolution it passed that would make masks optional beginning March 2nd.
The district announced the meeting Friday.
The move comes after the Oregon Health Authority on Thursday announced it had moved up the expiration date for the state’s current mask mandate from March 31st to March 19th.
Superintendent Charan Cline appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud” Thursday morning to discuss the board’s resolution.
He said the board Chairwoman Shawn Hartfield contacted him after the state’s announcement to say she would like to “pull a meeting to reconsider the resolution as it currently stands.”
The reconsideration also comes after Cline told the board the district’s teachers union and classified staff union have demanded a return to the bargaining table if the resolution moves forward.
Bargaining is required because the resolution “constitutes a change in working conditions for our unions because it creates a safety issue/directs us to go against state law,” said district spokeswoman Sheila Miller.
“We will begin bargaining with the unions, but in the meantime, we are expected to keep current working conditions in place,” Miller said. “That means students/staff will continue to wear masks until the bargaining is complete.”
And there’s no timetable on when that bargaining would even begin.
In his interview with OPB, Cline said the board could change its direction on the resolution and let the state’s mandate expire.
“We would all like to avoid a confrontation with our unions as well,” Cline said. “So the hope is that if we met before the March 2nd deadline, that perhaps the board could reconsider its position.”
Miller said the unions would not be able to or need to bargain if the district was to wait for the state’s mask mandate to officially end.
Hartfield did not respond to multiple requests for comment.