Posted on Aug 05, 2021 7:29 AM
By SUSAN RUMBLE
Special to the press
In his first meeting as Parkland’s new superintendent, Dr Mark Madson listened to an almost hour-long public commentary on whether or not masks should be required when school returns. for the new quarter.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise and CDC statements constantly change, school districts must prepare for student and staff safety for the new term.
Ahead of the discussion of the plan, which was on the agenda of the July 17 board meeting, parents of students and other interested people expressed their views on the masks during the period of public comments.
A dozen people said masks shouldn’t be mandatory for students. Four have come out in favor of masks to minimize the spread of infection with COVID-19 and its variants.
The general message from the parents who spoke was that they, not the school district, CDC or anyone else, should be the ones making the decisions about their children’s health.
On the other side, a young man who said he was in his sophomore at Parkland said COVID-19 cases were on the rise and children had not been vaccinated.
“There are emotions on both sides and the recommendations change quickly,” Madson said.
He noted that some people think the regulations are too restrictive. Others say they are not restrictive enough.
“Our top priority is a safe return to in-person learning,” said Madson. “No decision will alleviate all of the concerns.
“No set of precautions will eliminate COVID-19.”
He added that the district is working to minimize the impact.
“The increase in the number of cases in Pennsylvania makes it more difficult for school districts to make decisions,” Madson said. “We are in continuous communication with our health care providers. “
He said the face coverings were still a recommendation from various advisory sources.
The health and safety plan, developed by 30 district administrators, recommends that those who are eligible get vaccinated and that those who are not should wear face coverings.