On a day meant for love, Mason public school parents felt the love after the school board made an important decision regarding the choice of parents and students. On Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, the Mason Public School board passed the motion to highly recommend students wear masks rather than requiring them. This followed new guidelines from the Ingham County Health Department.
With this resolution, parents and students now have the option to choose whether they wear a mask in class. This motion does not eliminate masks but lets people decide if they want to continue wearing masks in the classroom.
Parents, students, and teachers came to the school board meeting to give their views on what they felt the school board should do. A North Aurelius Elementary school fifth grader was at the meeting to persuade the board to remove the mask requirement in classrooms.
“I think masks should go because I don’t just want to see my friends’ faces at recess. I also want to see them in the classroom.”
Mason Public Schools parent Bethany Walter brought up studies that showed evidence that there was no need for masks in schools.
She said, “I do not know how anyone in their right mind could still recommend masks for kids even if they were surgical but let alone a cloth mask.”
While all the parents and students at the meeting were advocating for the removal of the mask mandate, one teacher supported it. Rachel Brander said, “I can say that without a doubt from first hand experience that kids do just fine with masks on all day. They still talk, they still socialize, they still have fun and most importantly they are still learning.”
Besides the choice to wear a mask or not, there is also the addition of another optionVaccinated students now have the option to either test to stay or mask to stay in school. Mask to stay is defined as “The consistent and correct use of a KF94 mask, KN95 mask, or well-fitting double mask when around others and in school and public settings for 10 days.”
This option was added in case the new guidelines cause schools to use all their testing kits. Vaccinated students will only be able to use the mask-to-stay option if the school runs out of tests. The test-to-stay option will still be the main way to keep students and staff in school.
Board Trustee Michael Kelly had questions concerning the testing of students, the differences in quarantining of vaccinated and unvaccinated kids, and the new close-contact guidelines. It was clarified that the new guidelines only changed the mask mandates and not the concerns Kelly brought up.
After a lengthy discussion it was decided in a 7-0 vote to follow county guidelines regarding masks in schools.