Masked and unmasked classrooms: Manatee County parents weigh in on separating students

Coronavirus

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Parents with students in the Manatee County School District are weighing in on whether kids wearing masks should be in separate classrooms from those who aren’t wearing face coverings during the upcoming school year.

The measure is specifically for students under twelve who aren’t eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.

“The CDC guidelines have been everyone who is not vaccinated should wear masks, so it doesn’t really make much sense removing masks from our six graders and our elementary kids,” said mom Jessica Patterson.

Patterson said she would “prefer her to be in a classroom with all masks.”

District leaders tell 8 On Your Side e-mails started rolling in earlier this week when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended everyone in schools wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

“Especially with the recent rise in cases we have seen since the July 4 holiday weekend, these new kind of facts on the ground have a lot of parents kind of reassessing what they want to do the school year,” said Manatee County School Board Chair Charlie Kennedy.

According to Kennedy, district leaders are gauging parents opinion on the issue with a survey sent out earlier this week.

Masks are optional when students head back to schools in Manatee County on Aug. 10.

“It just seems segregating kids more and more and causing more division this way,” said Katherine Morningstar who has a grandchild in school.

School district leaders expect to take up the issue at their next board meeting which is set for next Tuesday.

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