Muskogee's Board of Education should be applauded for the latest attempt to keep students safe and ensure their success.

The Board met Tuesday night and voted 4-1 to pass a mask mandate. 

All students, staff and visitors must wear masks while on school district property, according to the mandate. Parents or staff may fill out an online form to opt out of the mandate. People may opt out for documented medical conditions, sincerely held religious beliefs or strong personal beliefs.

The mandate appears to be a somewhat of a compromise. The Board has made the best attempt to appease everyone. There's no question that exemptions should be made for medical conditions. And religious beliefs should be enough for people to be eligible to opt out. But strong personal beliefs is a little more difficult to define. The compromise is to allow people an exemption for strong personal beliefs. 

We're hoping that people who are on the fence about wearing a mask will decide to wear one.

President Joe Biden last week issued a mandate that says private employers with 100 or more workers will have to require them to be vaccinated or tested weekly, according to The Associated Press.

If masks are worn in our schools, the number of students who contract COVID-19 should fall. If the numbers rise, then the school district can determine what, if any, steps will be taken next.

Students learn best when they are in class. The Board, by instituting a mask mandate, is doing what they think is best for our students — keeping them in class and keeping them safe. 

We appreciate the Board's efforts, and we are happy they have the physical well-being of children in mind as well as their educational success. 

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