Dozens of parents from Zionsville community schools attended the June 14 school board meeting, asking the board to consider making face masks optional for the 2021-22 school year.
Face masks continue to be mandatory in all schools due to an order from Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb that is set to expire July 1. At the meeting, Superintendent ZCS. Scott Robison recommended that the school board let face masks be optional for people vaccinated July 1-12 – the date of the next scheduled board meeting – citing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people fully vaccinated can do without a face mask in almost any setting. He said the school board could then take the time until its July 12 meeting to review the guidelines, consult with local health officials and determine whether mandatory face masks in schools is necessary during the course of the year. school year 2021-22.
“A year ago we were tortured by this notion of utter uncertainty,” Robison said at the meeting. “There are a lot less uncertainties today than there was then. We know so much more than a year ago, and it’s going to be heartwarming for the year to come. But it is clear that we must continue to monitor daily so that we are aware of what is happening in this area in the future. “
The board took no action on face masks at the June 14 meeting and is expected to announce plans for the next school year at its July 12 meeting, which may be subject to change depending on guidelines public health officials in the future.
But parents who attended the meeting felt the board needed to hear their opinions before making a formal decision on the matter.
Brittany Shaver, parent of four at ZCS, said that parents’ main goal that night “was to make sure they knew our concerns before making a decision, because I think a lot of times they don’t ask. not our opinion “.
Shaver and several other parents have expressed concern about the lasting effects of mandatory masks on their children.
“We are no longer in crisis mode, and based on the current facts, there is no justification or benefit for children to be forced to wear a mask,” Shaver said.
Shaver said her third-year daughter was mildly hard of hearing and that before the COVID-19 pandemic she had adapted by lip reading. According to Shaver’s account, his daughter had always excelled at reading, but according to her test scores, her reading level was stagnant last year. Shaver also said her daughter had mild speech problems which had improved noticeably at the same time.
Other parents have told stories of their children suffering from constant headaches, difficulty concentrating and other concerns about wearing masks. They say that because children are less likely to be hospitalized from the disease or die from it, masks should be optional next year. Further, they say that because residents aged 12 and older in the Zionsville zip code, 46077, are mostly vaccinated – the Indiana Department of Health reports that 87.2 of residents aged 12 and more in the postcode are fully immunized, as of June 15 – risk of community spread is low.