An Edmond parent said the school district’s new mask requirement goes beyond the mask.
“You are communicating a lesson to children that you do not care for their safety, their mental health and their wellbeing,” parent Stephanie Brady said.
The superintendent said she isn’t one to back down from decisions but feels the only way forward is a mask requirement.
“It was not an easy decision. We love to see students faces and students love to see their teacher. We’ve been watching the cases as they move through different classes, and we knew it was a decision we had to make,” Superintendent Angela Grunwald said.
As of Tuesday, the district reported 348 active COVID-19 cases and more than 1,800 people in quarantine. EPS has over 28,000 students and staff.
“We want students in school five days a week and I am convinced that the wearing of masks will reduce our quarantine numbers,” Grunwald said.
Starting September 8, the district will require 1st through 12th grade students to wear a mask inside school buildings and on buses. Pre-K and Kindergarten will only have to where masks when walking around school or sitting in groups.
“We ask that teachers make sure that students have mask breaks and do get to take them off throughout the day. Same things with our teachers they need mask breaks as well,” Grunwald said.
Parents we spoke to have mixed reactions.
“We need everybody to be on the same page and be a team player. Say we don’t necessarily like to mask up, but we are going to mask up that way in the future our kids will be safe,’” parent Robert Fraze said.
“We want parents to be able to choose. Stop the segregating and distinction of kids of who are or aren’t choosing a mask,” Brady said.
The requirement gives parents the option to opt-out for personal, medical or religious reasons.
“We do believe in family choice and want to make sure those families have that choice,” Grunwald said.
Right now, masks are not required for outdoor sporting events, student activities or recess.