Greencastle-Antrim School District to Review COVID-19 Mask Policy
The goal of the Greencastle-Antrim School District is to “maintain in-person learning … by keeping our buildings open and students in attendance safe”.
Superintendent Dr. Lura Hanks will recommend a revised health and safety plan with a clearer masking policy based on local COVID-19 numbers at the September 2 school board meeting – unless changes need to be made. be brought earlier as cases increase.
Masks are optional, but highly recommended as part of the plan adopted at the end of July.
August 19 was the first day of school and about 30% of GA’s 3,000 students wore masks, Hanks told the school board at its meeting that evening.
At that time, 16 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the student body, including 41 in quarantine due to close contact. The number of cases rose by one over the weekend, with 47 students quarantined Monday morning.
Not hiding increases the likelihood that schools will have to close, Hanks said.
She recognized the community’s strong beliefs, both for and against masking. She said the district must do the greatest good for the greatest number of people to keep the buildings open and the students in school.
If masks are compulsory and students do not wear them, schools must be prepared to send them home with an unjustified absence. This could result in a large number of children out of school.
Hanks noted that the district sailed well against COVID-19 last year by making short-term decisions and said it would continue, doing “what’s best every step of the way.”
Different points of view
Scott Hart has four children in the district, but said he was on the district’s 3,000 student board. He said the board has the opportunity to make an informed decision about the masks based on local statistics.
“We’re only here to educate children,” Hart said. “What are you doing to keep schools open? “
Board member Shannon Yates said he was not in favor of masks but was in favor of keeping children in buildings as normally as possible.
Shannon Blanchard, chair of the board, said the district didn’t want to have to switch to virtual learning.
Becky Grosskreutz, who has two children in the district and is president of the Franklin County Chapter of Moms for Liberty, said if she had to choose, she would choose “virtual masks” on any day.
She provided a list of comments from a number of children who were asked how they felt about being able to go to school without masks.
“I felt really good! I had fun and I can breathe better,” replied a first grader.
“It was so hard to breathe before. I couldn’t bear to wear them outside. It was the worst,” said an eighth-grade student. “Today I didn’t have to constantly repeat myself because the teachers could understand what I was saying. I don’t understand the mask thing. Last year we had to wear them and our class still did. been shot because the kids have COVID. So that tells me they didn’t protect us anyway… it’s pointless. I’ll be so angry if they make us wear them again. “
Another eighth grader said, “I could actually hear people and see their faces. It was much easier to breathe and I don’t have a headache. “
Grosskreutz said if board members decide to demand masks, they should be the ones telling children.
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Paola Risser, mother of four and member of Moms for Liberty and Red, White and Blue Moms, asked if before 2020 anyone was masked against the flu, which she says is deadlier to children than COVID-19 .
She urged people not to fall into the trap of fear and said it was time to stand up for freedom and rights. She said people were prepared to send their children to charter schools if masks were needed.