Corey Wise, superintendent of the Douglas County School District, gets a noisy reaction from many in crowd as he discusses the district's COVID-19 policies for the upcoming school year at a district town-hall meeting at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. (Jessica Gibbs, CCM)

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. Support CCM’s neighborhood news.

A back-to-school town hall meeting put on by the Douglas County School District Wednesday evening quickly turned raucous as district leaders attempted to outline the district’s plans for mitigating COVID-19 this school year.

The crowd first erupted with boos when Superintendent Corey Wise displayed a slide saying the district is recommending universal masking when school begins next week.

That opened a contentious meeting where many attendees called for an end to pandemic precautions and refuted COVID-19 science, such as the validity of testing and efficacy of face coverings.

DCSD is among school districts across metro Denver and beyond that have been establishing mark-wearing policies and other rules to address the threat of COVID-19 as the new school year approaches. And, frequently, those policies have met with strong objections from many — some feeling the rules go too far and some saying they don’t go far enough.

Some nearby districts, such as Denver, Jeffco and Englewood, have announced mask-wearing requirements in schools, while others, like DCSD, are strongly urging that they be used.

After the initial uproar at the town hall, Wise paused his presentation and stepped to the side of the stage, waiting for audience members to quiet.

Some people cried out “child abuse!” One shouted “it’s not going to happen” about masks. Wise was also called a liar.

One woman yelled above the crowd “let’s hear him out” and the room calmed shortly after.


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