Parents voice disagreement over fall school mask requirement

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:40 PM EDT
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GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (WSAZ) - Parents and students hoping COVID-19 restrictions would be behind them when school resumes are not getting their wish in Gallipolis.

The Gallipolis City School District plan requires all students PK through 12th grade to wear masks this fall on buses, in classrooms, and in halls and common areas, with the exception of students who can’t wear them for medical reasons.

Wednesday night, parents voiced their disagreement with the policy at the Board of Education meeting, which was held at Gallia Academy High School to accommodate the larger than usual crowd.

Those who spoke out believe the mask requirement for children does more harm than good.

“They are trying to get you into a submissive state with these masks,” grandparent Mitzi Martin said.

Martin says it’s unfair when so many mask mandates have been dropped elsewhere.

“I see people in Walmart, going to the grocery stores, and all over the place (without masks), but they pull these kids into a school, and they’re like in a prison.”

Steven McDaniel says his 9-year-old son frequently voiced how much he disliked wearing his mask last school year while trying to learn.

“The mask made him feel like he was confined,” McDaniel said. “The restriction on his face and his nose and his breathing -- he didn’t like it.”

Superintendent Craig Wright told the crowd because of contact tracing and quarantine guidelines, the mask requirement gives them their best chance at keeping classes in-person.

“What masks will allow us to do is to have full-seat in-school,” he said.

Wright says if state contact tracing guidelines change in the coming weeks, the district’s mask policy could be altered as well.

To read the district’s plan in its entirety, tap here.

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