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Anchorage School Board overrides superintendent, puts masks back on kids through mid-January in ‘act of love’

The Anchorage School Board on Monday night overrode Superintendent Deena Bishop and put the masks back on the students when they return Jan. 3. The mask mandate extends to Jan. 15, for now, but the board seems willing to extend it further.

The board received much public comment, both online, on the phone, and in person, by the time it met on Monday night. Most of the teachers who testified were in favor of the mask mandate, and most of the written comments also supported the mandate. A few parents opposed it.

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Before school began in September, Superintendent Bishop made the decision to implement universal masking in all school buildings in the district. After overwhelming testimony against it, the board said the decision was up to the superintendent.

Last week, Bishop wrote a note to parents removing the mandate on Jan. 3.

On Monday night, the board took back the power from Bishop. Only School Board member Dave Donley voted against the extension of the mask mandate.

Testimony from Dimond High School English teacher Soren Wuerth, who said mask wearing is an “act of love” and “mental health protection” and characterizing the unmasked as “maskless mob,” was typical of what was presented by other teachers in oral testimony:

“This impulsive decision to lift the mask mandate is insanity. We are facing staffing shortages, holiday travel, and with the omicron [variant], unprecedented rates of viral transmission. Schools across the country are shutting down as Covid surges. In this context, a context that includes a mutating, rapidly spreading virus, giving up a fundamental protection is unacceptable.

Just Friday I had a student collapse in my room with another almost too sick to walk to the nurse, both exhibiting acute Covid symptoms. Multiple students have been out sick with unreported covid.

Not only do masks provide physical protection, but are a form of mental health protection. With renegade mask wearing in a school community where students don’t fully understand the virus transmission and omicron, the stress and anxiety on an already extremely stressful environment. Why this? Why now? Someone in an online forum echoed what I perceived to be the attitude of ASD leadership and its rationale for this decision: ‘Man Up’ is the attitude. Join the maskless mob.

The idea of voluntary masking is, of course, oxymoronic. A mask only works when others are masked.

Masks are proven to be one of the only measures to prevent transmission and this is why the CDC recommends all students pre-K through 12 continue to mask.

Moreover, as usual, it will be the poorest kids and large families who will be most harmed by this…

This declaration is short-sighted, reckless and ignores basic safety precautions, but worse, it puts lives at risk, the lives of teachers who have families and of children, and for what, for what? Political ambition?

We have a dichotomy. Either this is a unilateral decision — no teachers were certainly consulted. Or it is ignorant. Or it’s malicious. Elevating someone’s political image over the safety of our children is immoral.

You can’t pretend your way out of this pandemic. Now, school board, do what’s right and figure out a way to walk this back. Thank you for your time and remember, wearing a mask is an act of love.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Still think Anchorage is conservative?
    Still think education is about teaching?
    Still think your rulers give a damn about your opinions?
    At this point, anyone still living in Anchorage gets what they deserve.
    When someone tells you, this blatantly, who they are and what their goals are, if you don’t take them seriously it’s on you, not them

    • Our RINO governor could end this madness with the stroke of a pen, but instead he chooses to keep Anne Zink and allow medical tyranny. Vote Kurka for governor and don’t even rank this traitor in 2022

    • “Still think Anchorage is conservative?” – Yes, at least more conservative than represented by the assembly and school board
      “Still think your rulers give a damn about your opinions?” – No. Haven’t thought that for awhile.
      “At this point, anyone still living in Anchorage gets what they deserve.” – Or anyone that moves out without fighting and voting against tyrants deserves to see this entire state turn blue because Anchorage turns into a haven for liberal bs like Portland.
      “When someone tells you, this blatantly, who they are and what their goals are, if you don’t take them seriously it’s on you, not them” – When the voters vote for a mayor that ran on the whole idea of not having these ridiculous mandates and the assembly ignores it and ignores all of the public testimony, that’s on them.
      But, if no one runs against these people and if we don’t fight the mail-in voting system, this town is indeed doomed. But it’s pretty silly to say it will be our fault and not theirs.

  2. The mask is the modern day Burka. Our young children are being indoctrinated to obey the state. Soon, they’ll be turning in parents who violate mandates and directives. I remember as a young child learning about the Soviet Union, the KGB, and how kids would rat out parents. Thought wow, hope that never happens here.

  3. Yeah, it is an act of love for the National Extortion, excuse me, Education Association and the Communist, excuse me, Democrat Party. The left has to keep the COVID gaslighting operation going through the mid-term elections so they can try to steal another election.

    • Art, I always enjoyed working with you, opposing some of your ideas in the legislature, and sitiing across the bargaining table from you. Respected your willingness and ability to negotiate in good faith and compromise to make a deal. But I must say I am constantly “amazed” by your posts. Hope you and your wife have a great Christmas and New Year. Jim

    • Art, I always enjoyed working with you even thought I didn’t agree with many of your ideas and sitting across the bargaining table from you. Even though we often disagreed it was refreshing to negotiate with one who would bargain in good faith and be willing to reach a compromise to make a deal. But I must say your posts continue to “amaze” me and give me a good chuckle. They are vintage Art Chance. Hope you and your wife have a great Christmas and New year. Jim

      • Well, you and I were a part of the first gubernatorial term since collective bargaining began in ’72 during which all the major bargaining units stayed under contract, most voluntary, for the whole term; we must have done something right.

        Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    • Don’t worry about it are. These Drop shots are never going to fight anything anyway. Tell them to stay in the bed

  4. More from the moron ‘we trust in science (but don’t know any)’ crowd.
    Face diapers on children is abusive.

  5. “Mental health protection”????

    If forcing everyone around you to don a germ trap protects your mental health, I recommend crying, thumb-sucking, and rocking back and forth in the fetal position as well.

    Those measures are equally effective at protecting both your physical and mental health from Covid and irrational Covid-related fears.

    Find your safe space and curl up in a ball until spring, my friend.

  6. Us parents need to get involved in these decisions. Masking kids does not work. Kids are not the individuals generally at risk from COVID. And masking kids is harmful to their learning. Masks are not even currently mandated at the Anchorage Pioneer Home. Why should they be required in schools. We must get organize and voice our opposition to this school mask mandate at the next Anchorage School Board meeting. This mask mandate is is anti-science.

  7. And there you have it, Orwell’s Ministry of Love begins.
    Having to wear a mask to feel “mental health protection” is a sign of mental illness. Ending this insanity after nearly two years is hardly “impulsive.” Mandatory masking is child abuse and ASD school board has, indeed, “elevated their political image over the safety of our children.”

  8. The same mask that both Zink and Fauci said that are of no benefit ?
    Were they lying then or are they lying now?
    Whatever it takes to make sure you’re too afraid to vote in person………
    It’s not working!

  9. So, where are they proven? Where are the large multiple double-blind studies that they claim to need for early treatment protocols, etc…

  10. Note to Soren Wuerth, you opting to wear a mask may feel like an “act of love” but forcing others to wear one when they don’t agree with your politics is tyranny and oppression. Where’s the love, man?

    Note to readers, Soren Wuerth, petition-signer of Girdwood has quite an impressive courtview history and record of far-left social media propaganda. This is who ASD hires to “teach” your children?

  11. It’s an act of hate. Hate for children’s health. Hate for children’s psyche. Hate for children’s emotional health. Hate for children’s educational development.

    This school board (except for Donley) is anti-science, anti-freedom, and anti-American.

  12. Apparently the well educated and scientifically astute ASD teachers didn’t make it to the Saturday seminar a month ago at Changepoint where world class Doctors, researchers and authorities taught us the real truth about COVID and how to deal with it.

  13. According to the ASD Covid dashboard, there were only 49 “cases” out of a total of 49,342 students and staff as of December 19th. That’s 1/10th of one percent! How low does it have to be to undo student masking? Children are being harmed–and this time the ASD school board owns it.

  14. So now they’re calling child abuse “an act of love”.
    Communists always twist the language to mean the opposite of what it used to mean….

    • And contributing to it by forcing kids to re-breathe their respiratory waste and collect germs in a moist environment around their orifices throughout the day.

    • Greg, you are the only conservative I have seen who supports Fauci’s face muzzle. You have some strange political leanings

  15. Lefties have been known to abuse and even engage in pedophilia (just look at the kooks that have been associated with that God forsaken political party). Parents and home owners who pay property taxes need to stand up to these tyrannical looney toons and pedophiliacs! It’s hard to believe that they are even allowed around children, let alone ‘indoctrinate’ them! Wake up (Red Pill)! Not Woke up (Blue Pill)!

  16. Mike Dunleavy is shamefully silent. Why is he refusing to protect our children? Oh yeah, he is a RINO sellout who cares more about buying Alaska Native votes than protecting our freedom and way of life. Kurka for governor, leave Dunleavy off the ballot!

  17. There will come a day, and soon, that ‘acts of love’ that the Anchorage is imposing such as requiring masks to be worn, will be seen as outright child abuse. But this is Anchorage, where they keep electing fools on the Assembly and on their School Board. Where do they get these people?

    • At the ASD school board? Putting counter productive face diapers (or mouth burqas, if you prefer) on kids that don’t need them. It is sick and dehumanizing child abuse.
      At least you never disappoint. You pick every single bozo position.

  18. Pretty convenient. When the Superintendent’s decision to mask is something they agree with, they refuse to take any action, claiming it is out of their hands. When the Superintendent reverses and drops the mask mandate, they are on top of it like white on rice. Same with the teacher’s union. Cheers –

  19. The goal here is simple. To get the kids obedient and subservient.
    This is nothing more than behavioral modification by fascists.

    It’s not unexpected by “education” but really disappointing to see the healthcare community helping.

  20. My son is in school and my daughter is in preschool. They and their teachers all got colds along with everyone of their classmates despite the masks and yet these teachers think the only reason they don’t have that much transmission of covid in their classroom is because of the masks. These are the flakes teaching our kids. I thought about testifying and just asking for a compromise where we, the parents, do a fundraiser to get high-end air filtration and sanitation units for each classroom, but it’s futile. These guys have proven they really don’t care what anybody has to say, including the majority of parents, except those that share pride in their irrational fear and calling it “science”. Spanish Flu was how long ago? We’ve had a century to research to see if the masks worked when Fauci and Zirk said that mandating masks doesn’t really work because that is what conclusions supported after a century of research. That’s how they developed the “hierarchy of controls” that OSHA and courts use for making work environments safe. But one study was done in a lab with manikins that had the ridiculous far reaching, over promising, and obviously premeditated prediction that if 80% of people wore masks, the disease would go away, and that was enough for these type of fools to glom onto it and feel righteous and armed for a continued blame game keep the battle front away from medical care against a virus to each other. Then they call us selfish. aaarrgg It’s so frustrating and hard on my mental health. And regardless, kids aren’t the tranmission vector and don’t have a risk to themselves. Whatever. My kids will continue to wear masks and I will continue to tell them it is idiotic and they have nothing to fear. And I don’t even put the idea of them possibly being blamed for killing a teacher because that whole notion is SICK!

    I thought about testifying and asking for a compromise where us parents start a fundraiser to purchase high end air filtration and sanitation units for each classroom, but I realize it is futile and I would have to fight the feeling of embarrassment for even trying. This is the democratic environment we are living in now. They have shown that they will ignore anyone, including the majority of parents, that don’t take pride in their shared irrational fear.

    The “mental health protection” statement is the one that really is damning for them. The future, for you atheists, will be judging these people as it will me. Heck, Orwell did already in the past when he predicted such a future. “ministry of love” is right in front of our eyes. They are building a house on sand and will continue to try to blame others for their plans not working.

    Watch out. “Test-to-stay” is next, which will single out your kids, even the 5 year olds, that aren’t vaccinated and make them constantly get tested in front of their peers that are vaccinated. That might make me unglued and I won’t be alone. If they try that, they may break the hypnotic grip they have on many people. One can hope. This is so nuts. We are truly living in what should be only sci-fi.

    • I see now that I said the same thing twice. I need to step away. This really is driving me nuts. I feel so damn helpless against the madness of the liberals in town that throw a fit if they don’t get their lollipop and then call us monsters for anything they can find and/or fabricate. I’m taking a break from all of this so I can enjoy my family and life in general.

  21. Enough!They are doing this not for health reasons, but for ideological reasons. Communist scum.
    There is no science behind this.
    The damage to the kids will pay diminishing dividends for years.
    Why are parents allowing their children to be harmed.
    Get your kids out of public schools.

  22. Last week we finally had the FIRST death from the dreaded Omicron variant. It was in the UK. When asked if he/she was old, obese, pre-existing condition, FROM or WITH the Covid variant? The information was refused.
    Let’s be honest with the facts. We don’t get them is a start.
    And at this point, if you ask ANYone fearmongering around about Omicron how many have died, they can’t tell you because they do not know. At this point, we are creating the hysteria all by ourselves!
    More facts: 5% of Africa is vaccinated. All three Omicron carriers discovered there were vaccinated.
    Make up your own mind.
    I will not force my beliefs on you. But let’s allow facts and not feelings to take charge.

  23. In a column published in Monday’s New York Times (!!!), Joseph G. Allen, a professor at Harvard (!!!) said: “We should make masking in schools voluntary rather than mandatory. Masking was a necessary inconvenience early on and in short stints was fine. But to think that two years of masking has no impact on socialization, learning and anxiety is shortsighted. Kids are resilient but not endlessly resilient.”

    Others have noted this this view is a break with the previously solid phalanx of official doctrine, as expressed by experts. Apparently, even the New York Times is willing to recognize that continued masking may be a poor idea. The broader point is that are benefits and costs associated with masking. In failing to recognize the possibility of other costs, Soren Wuerth strikes me as a poor teacher.

    We are witnessing an enormous collapse of critical thinking skills as this pandemic drags on. Despite being located on the outskirts of contemporary life the US, the Anchorage school board has fallen victim to a mindless group-think that is harming young people.

  24. Forcing ‘love’ on someone against their will and against the will of their parents? Forcing ‘love’ on someone…
    …There should be a word for that.

  25. I think the left said that back in the 60’s about illegal drugs that have killed millions. “Tune in – Turn on – Drop Out, it’s an act of “wuv” baby!

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