On Monday, the Gambier Village Council amended Ordinance 2021, which required individuals to wear face coverings inside public buildings in the Village, to exempt Wiggin Street Elementary School from the Village mask mandate. The Council also discussed Kenyon’s plan to complete construction of an underground parking lot in July 2022.
To begin the meeting, many parents of students at Wiggin Street Elementary School expressed their concerns that their children are unable to breathe in masks, arguing that the mandate infringes upon their rights as parents to decide what they believe is best for their children.
One parent mentioned that less than 10% of the students at Wiggin Street Elementary School are residents of Gambier, and many parents argued that it should not be in Mayor Leeman Kessler’s power to issue mask mandates in the school, though it is in his jurisdiction.
Though the vast majority of parents expressed anger over the mask mandates at Wiggin Street Elementary School, there were a small number who shared support for the mayor’s decision to uphold the mandate.
“The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] actually does recommend that anyone 2 years or older and is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in an indoor public space,” one parent argued. According to the CDC website, masks are recommended for those who cannot be vaccinated, and the Pfizer vaccine was only just recently approved for those ages 5-11 on Tuesday.
After the mask debate, Ian Smith, the College’s vice president for facilities, planning and sustainability, provided insight regarding the construction of an underground parking garage that is expected to be completed in July 2022. The Council acknowledged concerns that the garage might affect the traffic flow of Gambier, but there is no strong evidence that it will cause significant disruptions.
The Council also discussed an ordinance that orders dog owners to keep their dogs under “reasonable control” as well as an ordinance that will authorize Village administrators to expend approximately $130,000 of American Rescue Plan funds to invest in water infrastructure this year.
The Gambier Village Council will meet again on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.