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As school year gets closer, parents decide whether or not their kids should mask up in the classroom

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 10:33 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Cedar Rapids Community District’s school board met Monday night to talk about safety measures and guidelines for the upcoming school year.

Mask mandates are not allowed in the state of Iowa, meaning the district instead issued strong recommendations for mask use and for vaccine uptake. This leaves district leaders trying to keep students safe, without requiring masks. Another issue is that elementary-age students under 12 can’t get a vaccine.

Some parents, like Amanda Ellickson, feel their child’s schooling shouldn’t have to include wearing one.

“I think it’s something that is important to role model for the people in the community,” Ellickson says.

On Monday evening, her son Jude went to a kindergarten roundup at Viola Gibson Elementary. Both Jude and his mom had their masks close by. Amanda said she does what she can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Jordon Meyer, another parent of a soon-to-be kindergartener, said he supports all parents’ decisions.

“If you’re comfortable with your kid not being in a mask, then so be it. If not, do what you think is right at the time. And that’s kind of where we’re at as a family is where are we comfortable at, what do we want to do to make our kid feel comfortable,” Meyer said.

Meyer said that he and his wife won’t have their daughter wear a mask because it might be distracting.

“I think let’s have her focus on becoming a better kid, and growing up learning new skills, new abilities, and also being able to focus on what the teacher’s saying,” Meyer said.

CRCSD Superintendent Noreen Bush said without the option to mandate masks, schools will do what they can to stay healthy and safe. If parents, specifically, ask that their student wear a mask in school, Bush said they will do what they can to enforce it.

“We always try to support the requests of parents, so if parents are requesting their child wear a mask, we’ll do our best to support that in the school environment,” Bush said.

Bush said the same goes for parents who ask the opposite for their child.

“If families are requesting that their child do not wear a mask, then we will absolutely support their children and make sure they feel safe, supported, and welcome in school,” Bush said.

The district also put out quarantine and isolation information on Monday. Any student who has symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive will have to isolate at home for 10 days and can return on day 11.

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