FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — As COVID-19 cases spike in Middle Tennessee, some parents are asking school leaders to reinstate mask mandates for the 2021-2022 school year.
On Monday night some families gathered outside the Franklin Special School District’s board meeting to voice their support for a mask requirement.
“To me, we’re all in this together and if we want students to get back into the classrooms and to get back to some sense of normalcy, then we can do it. But we have to do it safely,” parent Mandy Brown said.
“I think it’s so important that we listen to the experts right now. We listen to the science. This is not political. It’s not about fear. It’s about what is doing what’s right for our kids and protecting them,” parent Jen Fisher said.
Last month the FSSD board decided masks would be optional for the 2021-2022 school year and some parents would like it to stay that way.
“To say now that we can’t be trusted to make the health decisions and medical decisions for our own children is absolutely absurd and insulting,” an FSSD parent said during public comment.
Some parents noted that masks are distracting for their children and can retain germs if not properly worn or washed.
“The cloth masks are touched constantly. These are not adults, they are children. They are taken off. They are put back on,” another FSSD parent said.
Other parents say without a mandate they’re willing to move their students out of the district.
“My husband and I decided that we will either move to Davidson County or keep our children home in an online curriculum. All of this simply because of a lack of common sense protocols being in place at FFSD schools,” an FSSD parent said.
In a statement sent to News 2 on Monday Dr. David Snowden, Director of FSSD, said the following.
“The district leaders and school board members take into account every concern brought forth by our families and we appreciate the important feedback as we consider all of the possible mitigation efforts. While we have said masking is optional, it is also something that we highly support, especially for those who are unvaccinated, either by choice or by age restriction. Our district will continue to evaluate school and community spread and are ready to layer additional protocols on our health guidelines (available at https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1626963989/fssdorg/sgl7uzbwhck9q66wmv7z/2021-2022HealthGuidelines.pdf ) if the school and community spread dictates a more aggressive approach. As of today, we only have 1.5 days of data to analyze school spread, which does not provide us with much information on which to base changes to our guidelines.
We take every concern presented to us seriously and, as a district, we are as transparent as we can be regarding our COVID-response strategies. We will continue to report weekly case counts to our families so parents know exactly what we are seeing in our schools. We required masks all last year, so we know that we can move easily to this approach if the school board decides to mandate them again. While every parent may not agree with our decisions, we do hear and respect their concerns and choices.”