Ian Dickmann spoke at Monday night’s school board meeting. His daughter attends Ben Franklin Elementary, which recently had an outbreak of COVID-19.

My name is Ian Dickmann. My daughter is a second grader at Ben Franklin Elementary.

I’m not here tonight to present covid statistics, or to repeat the same common sense guidelines you’ve already heard. By now, you either believe them and care about the risks and dangers or you don’t.

Instead, I’m here tonight because I’m tired, I’m worried, and I’m stressed. The past three weeks have been some of the most stressful three weeks of the entire pandemic. It’s stressful because, for the first time since early 2020, my family’s ability to control our safety and our health is greatly dependent on the decisions made by the School District of Menomonee Falls. It’s stressful because the past month has played out exactly as I feared. Local and county burden rates have reached high levels, children continue to be infected and quarantined, and the most basic of mitigations, universal masking, still have not been implemented.

Each morning I drop my daughter off at school, and each day I wait for that email telling me she’s been exposed to covid at school. Today marked the 18th day of school and already three of my friends have had to quarantine their kids due to possible exposures. As covid continues to work its way in and out of the school district, it is only a matter of time until I receive that email. It’s only a matter of time until I have to pull my daughter from school, take time off from work to get her tested, subject my seven year old daughter to a nasal swab test, and worry that she will test positive and become ill…all the while hoping my wife and I don’t catch breakthrough cases ourselves.

Tonight, you are discussing thresholds, allowing the administration additional mitigation authority for specified periods of time, when our schools are at risk. To this I say…it’s about time, our school are already at risk, and I’m somewhat stunned you’ve waited this long. Yet, your plan is still reactive, and not proactive, and still fails to meet minimum recommended levels of mitigation protocols. This is rather disappointing and disheartening.

As I said at the start. I’m tired, I’m worried, I’m stressed. I certainly did not want to miss bedtime with my daughter, to spend my evening here, in front of you, with a fair amount of unmasked individuals in the room. But this is my daughter’s health and life we’re talking about, along with all our kids, and someone needs to speak up for them. Vaccines for 5-11 year olds are still a few weeks away. Until then, I hope this board wakes up and address real dangers facing our children, and implements universal mask usage.

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