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School District of Manatee County surveys parents on masked classrooms

Manatee School Board
Manatee School Board(WWSB)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 8:43 PM EDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The School District of Manatee County recently sent out a survey to parents of elementary school-aged children regarding masked classrooms.

With the recent rise of COVID-19 cases across the state and the lack of vaccine availability for children under the age of 12 officials wants to say they plan to gauge the number of parents who would prefer to have their children in a masked environment.

“We potentially think about asking parents what they think about a masked classroom”, said Schoolboard Chair Charlie Kennedy.

A question that has become a hot button issue

District spokesperson Mike Barber and Kennedy both tell ABC7 that the survey remains strictly for information-based purposes and no formal decisions have been made regarding mandatory masking in classrooms in Manatee County.

“We’re just collecting information right now,” said Kennedy. “We’ll look at it over the weekend based on the results of that survey school principals will contact their school communities and let parents know what their options are.”

The survey sent out asks two questions for parents:

  1. If your child is 11 years old or younger, do you plan to send your child to school wearing a mask?
  2. If yes, would you prefer they be in a classroom setting with other children wearing a face mask/covering, if available?

Questions for parents like Heather Costa who believe the survey might be a bit controversial, as she believes having masked classrooms and separating kids would hinder learning.

“The biggest part of being in school is the social interaction, learning how to get along learning’ how to self problem solve,” said Costa. “If we are segregating our kids I don’t think they are going learn the true essence of what it’s like.”

School district leaders expect to take up the issue at their next board meeting which is set for next July 27.

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