Raleigh BOE leaves mask-wearing decision up to parents for upcoming school year

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Parents, grandparents and teachers came out to the Raleigh County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 to voice their concerns about the COVID-19 protocols in schools. Parents held signs that read “don’t mask our kids” and “#choice”.

Most of the parents who showed up to the meeting wanted the board to leave the decision of mask-wearing up to the parents. Each parent had five minutes to stand up and tell the board why they support this decision. One concerned parent asked to not have their identity revealed.

“We are just trying to make our kids comfortable. You cannot expect them to sit six, seven, eight, nine hour days with the masks on. You don’t want to do it, I don’t want to do it, they don’t want to do it,” the parent told 59News.

The board had three different models to choose from. But in the end, they voted unanimously to leave the decision of mask-wearing up to the individual parents for the 2021-2022 school year.

“We will add that it is very highly recommended by our board that our students wear masks in school. Contact tracing and quarantining by the health department will still be a part of the year,” said David Price, Superintendent of Raleigh County Schools

Superintendent Price said they will continue to work with the health department to keep the kids safe. They will also provide daily updates about cases in schools during their board meetings. However, Price said the board does have the ability to make any changes down the road.

“So, therefore, we will be evaluating as we move forward and making decisions based on the current data,” Price continued.

Students will still have to wear a mask while on the buses, according to a state mandate. Price said a decision about athletes masking up is handled by the state.

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