Parents voice frustration with school district’s mask mandate

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 10:34 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Emotions run high during Tuesday night’s school board meeting in Madison County.

Dozens of parents voiced their frustrations with the district’s mask mandate.

They believe wearing masks is a decision that should be optional, not mandated.

In fact, some residents have pulled their kids out of the district due to the mandate being in place.

More than 13 thousand students are enrolled in the district.

Three weeks into the school year, MCS has already seen students, faculty, and staff contract the virus.

During the first week of school, district leaders said 255 students, faculty, and staff had to quarantine, and 102 people tested positive for COVID-19.

The district said the second week of school saw 197 people quarantine and 86 positive cases.

During this past week, district leaders said there were six COVID outbreaks, 317 people had to quarantine, and there were a total of 81 positive cases in the district.

The superintendent, Charlotte Seals, said the mandate is in place to keep everyone safe and limit the spread of the virus.

However, some students and residents see things differently and believe the mandate is negatively impacting students.

“It’s very frustrating because this is child abuse,” said Colt Woods, a fourth-grade student whose parents withdrew him from the school district. “You can’t force this on someone; that’s against their free will.”

“They (the district) promised us that it would be mask choice for the school year unless a mandate was handed down by the federal government, by the state government,” said Scott Jackson, he has children in the school district. “‘That has not happened, yet they have initiated a mask mandate, went against their word.”

“We (the district) we’re in a situation where we thought, OK, yes maybe we can go in with optional, but quickly we saw numbers shoot up across the state over three thousand,” said Charlotte Seals, district superintendent. “We had to make this move to the requirement of masks so that we could use every strategy at our disposal to keep our numbers as low as possible so that we don’t have to close the school down so that we don’t have to go to virtual learning because I think everyone agrees that we need to have our children on campus.”

Seals said every 14 days the district looks at the COVID numbers to re-evaluate whether the mandate will stay in place.

Meanwhile, parents said they will continue to voice their frustrations over this issue to district leaders and board members.

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