Kids will go back to school this month and districts must decide, mask or no mask? The Richland School District has decided masks will only be mandatory when students are on school buses.
Once students are at school the Director of Education Services, Brandon Bailey, says students can decide if they want to wear a mask. Bailey says students still need to wear a mask when on the bus because they’re not able to social distance. When in the classroom he says students will be spaced three feet apart and some rooms will have plastic desk dividers.
“We know we have a lot of students and staff potentially who will wear face coverings in school and we certainly support that. COVID-19 is a real thing and we certainly see how its impacting our community,” said Brandon Bailey the Director of Education Services.
Sarah Barrett who chose to have her daughters learn remotely last school year says she’s disappointed in the masking policy. Barrett’s daughter, Saffron, will go back to the high school in-person but it’s a big risk for the family. Youngest daughter, Ruby, in the elementary school is immune compromised and she says there’s the chance Saffron could bring COVID-19 into their home. Ruby will learn remotely again this school year.
“If she were to contract COVID and then bring it home to her sister and then her sister would be hit hard with it, that’s horrifying to me. That makes me cry it makes me think ‘should I be taking that risk,’” said Sarah Barrett a parent in the Richland School District.
Saffron will choose to wear a mask while in school and if the Barrett family feels it’s not safe, she will return to remote learning. However, the choice to mask this school year has some parents deciding to go in the other direction.
“I’m here to protect my child and my child only. If I feel that him not wearing a mask is fine and that’s fine for him then that’s how it’s going to be,” said Brandon Miller a parent in the Richland School District.
The Richland School District will start the school year on August 25th. Superintendent, Arnold Nadonley, says if COVID cases rise again at an alarming rate in Cambria County than the schools health and safety plan could change.