Not all pleased with masking optional in schools decision

Published 10:23 am Thursday, August 12, 2021

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record


Members of the Davie County Board of Education learned last week their decision to make masks optional in schools as they open is not popular among all parents.

Lynn McDaniel, wearing a “Science Will Win” t-shirt, chastised board members for not listening to their own health officials.

“It makes aboslutely no sense … when some of you choose to group yourself with those who want to pretend like none of this is going on … fake new or what have you. But if we don’t want to pay attention to math and science, let’s talk sports.”

She said the swim coach at Davie High School went to practice with COVID-like symptoms. Her child had to be quarantined, and missed the swim season.

“So what are we going to do this year … with a more contagious variant that is spreading rapidly?” The day after the board’s decision, other schools already opening were forcing quarantines, she said.

“Do we have a plan? No, because we wanted to prove we’re so right. Are we going to continue to shoot our healthcare workers in the foot?”

She worries about sending her children to school now, especially with no virtual option should a quarantine become necessary.

“I want my kids in school,” McDaniel said. “They need to be in school. If they need to wear masks, so be it.”

Psychological impacts will be worsened by children being forced  to stay at home with nothing to do, she said. “It makes absolutely no sense and some of you should be very, very ashamed of  yourself because you are reckless in spreading misinformation.”

Jennifer Hirada agreed.

“We want this to work. We want our kids, staff, to be safe. We do hope you’re sincere and you are keeping a very close eye on the Delta variant. It is spreading quickly and we need to be consicous of that,” Hirada said. “With the Delta variant, it has been proven that the best way to protect ourselves is through vaccinations and masking.

“It’s a huge concern. My son has a lot of anxiety wrapped in his school work. He likes everything by the book.”

The board also heard again from Matthew Johnson, who had been asking them to lift the mask mandate for more than a month.

He said from board members’ comments, it appears that some still think masks should be required. He claimed the Biden administration is proposing another lockdown, and the “mainstream media is out hyping us up for it.”

Johnson said schools need to focus on other health problems such as obesity, diet and vitamin defiencies.  Bus drivers should focus on driving, not on making sure students are constantly wearing a mask, he said.

“It is obvious that the board of education leadership is still split on this issue,” Johnson said. “If you stil support mandatory masking – then prove it to us. Prove the efficiency of the masks, the reduction of transmission, and the safety around our childrens’ pyschological health. To this day, none of that has been shown to us. Regardless of what Biden or Cooper does soon … I ask you to stand your ground and keep masks optional. With the situation at hand, it is the best option.”

Johnson also said that if masks are required again, students should provide exemptions for religious reasons.

Their comments came during the public speaking portion of the school board’s meeting. Superintendent Jeff Wallace had mentioned the subject in his earlier comments.

“We don’t have all of the answers, but we must remain united in this effort to keep our students, staff and others safe. We’ve had differences, but we will continue to monitor the situation and work together … with local health officials.. and the ABC Collaborative,” Wallace said.