Irvine Unified School District’s Board of Education is set to hear public comments regarding a mask choice resolution that asks for parental choice regarding the use of face masks on school campuses, according to the IUSD Board of Education’s Tuesday, Sept. 14 meeting agenda.

Annie Brown, Public Information Officer for Irvine Unified School District, explained that the mask choice resolution was not brought forth by IUSD, adding that the board will not vote on the topic. Brown also said that members of the public are allowed to address the board with topics of interest.

In an email to Irvine Weekly, Brown confirmed that this topic for public comment was made at the request of Let Them Breathe.

“IUSD has received a request from an outside group called ‘Let Them Breathe,’ which has asked the Board of Education to consider a resolution advocating for mask choice during our September 14 board meeting,” Brown wrote. “To be clear, this is not a resolution put forward by IUSD or the Board of Education. Under the law, members of the public have this right to address the Board of Education. IUSD will continue to follow state and local guidelines and has already implemented universal masking per CDPH guidelines. As always, our community is welcome to attend our board meetings in person or online and to submit public comments.”

Per its website, Let Them Breathe advocates that the use of face masks over long periods is a health risk to children.

Per the language in the agenda, the resolution will focus on removing requirements for face coverings, quarantines and asymptomatic testing at schools, which is set forth by the California Department of Public Health, and requires the use of face masks on school campuses at all times.

In the resolution, Let Them Breathe asks the Irvine Unified School District’s board to consider taking the following actions:

  • Advocate in writing to the CDPH to remove mandatory requirements for preventative measures such as masks, quarantines and asymptomatic testing.
  • Allow school districts to consult with city and county health departments to determine the need for safety protocols based on local conditions.
  • Advocate for parental choice for masking and vaccinating their children.
  • Ensure that mask requirements will NOT be used as punishment to coerce children to get vaccinated.

While the subject is only public discussion, the Orange County Board of Education was recently unsuccessful in its lawsuit challenging California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandate, which required the use of face masks for all students while indoors.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan addressed the upcoming discussion on Facebook, adding that this resolution does not protect the community against COVID-19.

“I’ve received many messages from concerned parents about a potential resolution on the IUSD School Board Agenda. I don’t have any jurisdiction over IUSD matters, I ask that you reach out to the IUSD School Board members,” Khan wrote. “In my opinion, this resolution does nothing to progress us forward, but if passed, it will send a very negative message to our community. We need to continue the course of masking up and getting vaccinated. That is the only way we will beat this pandemic.”

The IUSD Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m.