Masks mandates in colleges draw help, ire of oldsters

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama students are returning to classrooms this month, with local school systems split on whether or not masks are required.

Masking requirements in local K-12 schools have a mix of support from parents who see this as the best way to protect unvaccinated children from COVID-19 and anger from those who see it as a violation of personal choices, news outlets report.

The Alabama Department of Health, which adopts guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends schools require masks as the state sees an increase in COVID-19 cases. Alabama leaves the decision to the local school systems, rather than imposing or banning mask requirements, as some states have done.

The Hoover City Schools voted on Friday to make mask compulsory for the first 30 days of the school year.

“I want my child and every other child in the community to return safely – this includes high-risk children, children with disabilities, and we can’t do that without wearing a mask,” said Misty Mathews, a parent, to the WBRC.

But some students carried signs saying “No More Masks” during the meeting, and a group of opposed parents gathered in the parking lot to pray.

In the neighboring Vestavia Hills, the school system has announced that masks will be optional during the school year.

The Opelika-Auburn News reported that parents in both cities attended meetings of the city council and school committee to speak out against the mask requirement in these city school systems.

“What we do with our body is a personal decision. … I’m not here to tell you what decisions to make, and I never will. We all have our opinions, we all think we’re right, ”said Jonathon Parish from Auburn.

“I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, I’m here to tell you, ‘Don’t do this to me. Don’t do this to my children. ‘”

However, another Auburn resident said parents should get vaccinated if they want the mask requirement to be removed. Alabama has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

“There is a good way to get rid of the mask. Ninety-nine percent of those who died were not vaccinated. Our school children have to be vaccinated against polio, diphtheria, measles and others, but nobody seems to be complaining about that, ”said Michael Halperin.

“I’m not a great mask person, but I want to save lives,” he said.

A group of parents in Tuscaloosa urged the city’s school system to make mask compulsory before school starts next week, reported ABC 33/40.

“You wouldn’t send your child to a burning house, why send your child to an environment with an aerosol-borne virus,” said mother Amanda Lemmert.

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