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South Range will let parents decide on wearing masks

CANFIELD – As of now, parents in the South Range school district will be able to decide if their child wears a mask in school.

Schools Superintendent Bethany Carlson reported Monday night parents can decide if their child should wear a mask while at school. Teachers will also have the option to not wear a mask.

Carlson said Gov. Mike DeWine has not mandated students wear masks. However, she said desks will remain distanced and shields will be available for students whose parents do not want their child to wear a mask but want some level of protection.

Carlson said students will be returning to the cafeteria for meals (they had been eating at their desks in 2020-2021) and carpets and horseshoes will be brought back for small group learning.

Carlson said students will still have to wear masks while riding the bus due to the continued mandate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that requires face coverings on public transportation.

“But they can take them off and put them in their pocket once they get to school,” Carlson noted.

Also at the meeting, Carlson said the district is transitioning from one-call alerts to texts regarding Covid issues. She said information will be provided soon to encourage parents to get the text app.

Carlson said the one-call alerts will still be used for school-related items and all text and one-call alerts will be available on the district’s updated website.

One parent, who has a child entering third grade and one kindergarten, spoke at the meeting regarding students being required to wear masks. She encouraged the board to leave the decision in the hands of the parents, citing the data available showing minimal spread among small children and the negative physical, emotional and social effects of long-term mask wearing among the same group.

Board President Ralph Wince acknowledged the board’s desire to leave the decision with the parents, but reminded everyone the Covid situation is constantly changing and reasons can be found for or against any mandate that is established.

khowell@salemnews.net

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