Central Bucks School Board Votes 4-3 to Lift Mask Mandate

The move comes after intense debate and a measure of controversy.


Ryan Keating, Editor

After an emotionally charged special meeting on Wednesday night, the Central Bucks School Board voted 4-3 in favor of lifting the in-school mask mandate for Central Bucks students, effective Monday, June 7th.

The decision comes in light of intense pressure on the school board and superintendent from parents. Public debate over the board’s handling of the pandemic has verged on toxicity in recent months.

The vote also came after an unexpected reorganization of board leadership last Tuesday. At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, board member Leigh Vlasblom introduced a motion to remove then-president and vice president Tracy Suits and Karen Smith. Their replacements are Dana Hunter as president and John Gamble as vice president. The restructuring came after apparent internal tensions, with Vlasblom citing a need for change.

Interim Superintendent Abram Lucabaugh recommended the updated policy not go into effect until Monday, June 7th, to give time for administrators to prepare. He recently took over from Dr. John Kopicki, who resigned in April for reasons that remain unclear.

The decision to move to mask-optional in person schooling is a major change from the current Health & Safety Plan that was implemented at the time of reopening. Bucks County Health Department Director David Damskey was in attendance for the meeting.

Board members Leigh Vlasblom, Sharon Collopy, Daniel Ring, and President Dana Hunter voted in favor of making mask-wearing optional.

Board members Jodi Schwartz, Tracy Suits, and Karen Smith voted against making mask-wearing optional.

Boards members Lorraine Sciuto-Ballasy and Vice President John Gamble were absent at the time of the vote.