PINEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Mask mandates in schools are a hot topic in legislation across the two Virginia’s.
While the matter is under consideration, Parents and students took to the streets in Wyoming County to speak their minds.

Wyoming County is one of thirty-four counties across the Mountain state where masks are required in schools, according to the state department of education.

Many parents in the county disapprove of this mandate and parents gathered on February 15 to protest.

“Just because parents are just tired of it. We feel like we need a choice in whether our children wear masks or not. If your kid wants to wear a mask that’s fine but we just feel like we should have that option,” said Jessica Griffith, a mother of five students who are in elementary, middle and high schools across the county.

Many of those protesting sent their children to school without masks.

“I am not real sure. I know that there was teachers and stuff out there blocking them, but I told them once you get in take your mask off, so whether they did, oh and I wrote a letter saying my child has an excuse to not wear a mask,” said Griffith.

When we spoke with Wyoming County Superintendent Dierdre Cline, she confirmed at least twelve other instances of students coming to school without a mask.

She said while they hoped children would not be brought into the middle of this debate, the board wants what is best for the county, and is working with those parents and students.

“That said if a child comes in without a mask, a mask will be provided, if the child still refuses, the parent will be called and asked to come and get the child, if the parent doesn’t come, the child would be kept in a close, nurturing but isolated environment and their work would be given to them their and teachers would come in and check on them, but it is not an optimal situation,” said Cline.

As the “Parent and Students’ Health Rights act currently sits in the state House judiciary committee, parents like Griffith say the time for action is now.

She said they are out using their voice to give kids that choice.

Cline advises anyone wanting to voice their concerns to come to their monthly board meeting and do so during their time allotted for public forum.

She has a message for those still worried.

“We are doing this in our best effort to keep kids in school. to follow the guidelines to that allow us to keep the kids in school and I cannot wait for the days personally and professionally when covid is behind us,” said Cline.

The Board of Education meets February 17 at 10 a.m.

Parents tell us they plan to attend and protest again.