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ALPENA, Mich. — There was strong reaction to the district’s decision during public comment at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting.

Many parents expressed frustration with not just the mask mandate, but also what they called poor communication from the district and shoddy online education.

Over two hours into the meeting, many stormed out in frustration, feeling the district was refusing to answer their questions.

School officials announced on Sunday night that all K-12 students must wear a face covering starting on Tuesday.

The mandate follows one the district put in place for APS staff last week. Officials say the decision is important for student health and continued learning after weeks of COVID–related absences.

Six elementary classrooms and the entire middle school had to go online over the last two weeks, and more than 200 students are quarantined.

Superintendent David Rabbideau said the virus seems to be spreading far faster than last semester.

In terms of action items, the board approved a $33,000 contract bid for new playground equipment at Ella White.