Wenatchee School Board moves next meetings online, citing ‘credible threat’ to boardmembers

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WENATCHEE — Two weeks after unmasked and confrontational crowd forced the Wenatchee School District board to adjourn an in-person meeting, the district says boardmembers have been the subject of “a credible threat” forcing future meetings to be held entirely online.

The Wenatchee Police Department is investigating a threat against members of the board, which the district became aware of late Friday, communications director Diana Haglund said in an email media release.

“Law enforcement has advised the district to move board meetings online until further notice,” Haglund wrote.

More than 50 members of the public at the board’s last meeting Aug. 24 refused to wear masks in the meeting room, leading the board to suspend the in-person meeting twice before adjourning entirely to an online Zoom meeting. Most of the unmasked guests voiced opposition over state requirements for masking of children and anyone working in school buildings, as a safeguard against COVID-19.

The disruption led the district to issue a public notice of its meeting protocols, and to note that it’s required under Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive orders to enforce facial masking on its grounds and facilities.

“What I would hope, and where I think our board is at as well, is that people would respect that we do have a mandate,” Superintendent Paul Gordon told NCWLIFE on Wednesday. “And when the governor says all state employees will be following this and all governmental agencies will be following this, that’s what we have to do. There’s no middle ground.”

The virtual board meeting will take place as scheduled on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The public can view the board meeting on the District’s YouTube Channel, and public comment is accepted during allvirtual meeting. Individuals may sign up for public comment on the district’s website, wenatcheeschools.org.