The Bismarck School Board will be lifting its mandatory mask policy by Tuesday of next week.

The board voted in favor of Superintendent Jason Hornbacher’s recommendation. Parents have been pressuring school officials to do away with the policy.

One parent attending Monday night’s school board meeting says this is long overdue.

“One, the kids aren’t spreading it. Two, the close contact is forcing healthy kids home more than the sick kids are staying home. It just causes a bigger problem than any of the solutions that we were coming up with. So, I’m really glad and thankful that now they are going to lift the requirements on the masks,” said Amanda Davis.

The school board plans on holding an administrative meeting Tuesday to go over their re-entry plans and protocols.

Hornbacher says the decision comes as COVID cases continue to drop and emergency clauses expire. He says there will be a lot of communication between schools and parents, coming within the next few days.

“COVID masking and not masking is such a divisive issue. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut answer whether people approve or disapprove of it. We got to give other parents who might not like it. The new practice, an option to move to distanced learning, if that’s what they want to do. That’s going to take a lot of work,” said Dr. Hornbacher.

Hornbacher also says moving forward, parents will be notified if a student in their child’s classroom contracts the virus but contact tracing will be left to the state Health Department.