Vigo County School Board votes in favor of masks upon return to school

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VIGO CO., Ind (WTWO/WAWV) — After a narrow 4-3 vote, the Vigo County School Corporation approved a new re-opening plan for the upcoming academic year.

With nearly 100 people in attendance, it was a very spirited discussion among the board and community. Many voiced their displeasure with masks completely while others prefer the idea of universal masking.

Pre-K to sixth grade staff and students will be required to wear masks with the exception of built in mask breaks.

Masking is also required in certain situations in seventh through twelfth grade.

Megan Mollet, a parent, says she never had a vote for or against masks, for her it was about personal choice.

“I do have a lot of concerns with the way masks have been used over and over and over again. A lot of families aren’t able to provide clean masks for their children. I have some concerns with mental health for sure. There’s a lot of stress on these kids,” Mollet said.

For 7th to 12th graders, masks must be worn in large gatherings like going through the hallways. However, there is an option to unmask in the classroom, P.E., and band.

Jenny Norris attended the meeting and favored the board’s decision, she adds she’d prefer universal masking.

“It’s an important choice we can do everything to protect our children especially with the delta variant and showing it is more susceptible to children. I think it’s important we make every decision to protect them. masks may not completely prevent it buts it better then nothing.” Norris said. “I’m much more excited for the upcoming school year.”

However, with this plan being subject to change pending local data and metrics, Norris is concerned on possible change.

“I’ll continue to voice my opinion and let the board know that we need masks in schools,” She said.

Parents like Steve Ellis were against the idea and called upon the board to think about the well-being of students.

I hope the side effects caused by all of this,” Ellis said.

Ashley Brian, a concerned mother, spoke to the board and attendees about how crucial masks were in school to protect her children.

“My children represent the vulnerable. I know masking doesn’t stop the virus, but it is something to protect the vulnerable. We want to be in person, we want to reduce quarantining. I’m choosing to mask my kids, they are not as protected,” Brian said.

Agreeing with Brian was Carla Spear, who called COVID-19 a “community problem that requires community involvement.”

Quarantining will be a case by case situation. If someone is fully vaccinated, but exposed to a close contact; they will not have to quarantine. The Vigo County Health Department will evaluate other factors to determine if a quarantine is necessary including proximity to the person positive with Coronavirus.

Superintendent Rob Haworth called tonight’s meeting spirited and informative among the community, but stressed the importance of keeping students in the classrooms.

“It’s a tough decision to make. I want parents to be able to count on school. That they’re not having to scramble on day care. I think this recommendation the board approved will help us get there,” Haworth added.

The plan will be reevaluated at the next V.C.S.C board meeting, Sept. 9.

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