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Parents react as school systems announce masking requirements

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 11:46 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - After an unorthodox 2020-2021 school year, students and parents hoped for a more normal school year. The new year is just around the corner and schools are weighing the tough decision to require students to mask up.

Following the Huntsville City Schools Board Meeting earlier this week - some parents stormed out due to masking being a requirement. Just as quickly as the decision was made, a Facebook Group called Unmask Our Kids popped up, already gaining more than 800 followers.

Chelsie Brooks Lee helped create the group and says she is not against masks, she just doesn’t want them in schools.

“Most of the parents are just for freedom. They want to be able to choose what is best for their family. At this point what is the end game here,” says Lee.

Ashley Sparks has three students in Huntsville City Schools and is also a nurse. She says she has seen the COVID devastation first hand and there’s no reason a child should not be able to wear a mask.

“I have a child who is pretty severely autistic. She is very sensory defensive with her face and her head. She manages to wear a mask without a problem. So, I really am having a hard time understanding why any parent would be vocally advocating for anything other than this particular choice,” says Sparks.

Sean Kruer has two students at Challenger Elementary School and says at the end of the day masking is the cheapest and most effective option for children to remain safe since most students cannot get vaccinated.

“It is more effective than distancing, it is more effective than sanitizing workspaces and it is more effective than plexiglass dividers,” says Kruer.

Parents also fear bullying will come with making masks optional.

“If you have some of the kids in the class wearing a mask and some that are not, the ones that are wearing a mask are going to look at their friends that aren’t wearing a mask and just rip it off and stick it in their pocket and put it back on before their parents pick them up,” says mother Wafa Orman.

Lee says it is time to get back to full normalcy.

“We know it is just going to be around forever. There are forever going to be new variations and at some point, we just have to decide to get back to normal,” says Lee.

Both sides acknowledge COVID is not going anywhere.

“The disease is here to stay. It is just going to keep mutating. The question is it manageable or is it catastrophic,” says Orman.

“There are forever going to be new variations and at some point, we are just going to have to get back to normal,” says Lee.

All say they appreciate the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education.

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