Different meetings, different mask messages from parents at central Ohio school board meetings

Grove City

GROVE CITY, Ohio (WCMH) – Masking continues to be the main topic at school board meetings across central Ohio.

Parents rallied Monday at two different school districts to have their message heard.

There were several rallies Monday – two differing points of view at Worthington City Schools and another at South-Western City Schools, some calling for different policies.

Worthington City Schools voted 4-1 in favor to implement universal masking for all students and staff. The new policy will begin Wednesday. Meanwhile, South-Western City voted 5-0 Monday to put that decision into the hands of the superintendent.

Parents at both districts were all passionate about masking at schools.

Some of the parents called for universal masking.

“I really feel like it’s important for teachers, older kids, just universally, so there’s no holes in the Swiss cheese, so to speak,” said Worthington City Schools parent Erin Sogal. “We’re covered and protected.”

While, for other parents, masking is a choice that should be left up to them.

“My son here is eight years old and he has not had a normal school year since kindergarten – he’s going into third grade,” said South-Western City Schools parent Casey Hanks. “That is heartbreaking, so that’s what I’m fighting for.”

South-Western requires masks for pre-K through sixth grade, while masks remain optional for older students. Worthington had a similar policy (required for pre-K through eighth grade) until Monday’s vote.

“He’ll put it on when he has to, but the moment you turn your head, he’s going to pull it back down, as is every other kid,” said Worthington parent Matt Bates.

“There is no option for online schooling, so if my kids have to quarantine, the resources they have to support them from an education standpoint are really limited, and that’s scary,” Sogal said.

South-Western City Schools’ Board of Education passed a resolution Monday allowing the superintendent to use his judgment on requiring face coverings, with that masking decision affecting the entire district, individual schools, grades, or even classrooms. No such change has been made – students from pre-K through sixth will be required to wear face coverings starting Wednesday.

Parents are urging their districts to see their points of view.

“Nobody is keeping you from masking your child, so if you want to bring your child in a mask, do it,” Hanks said. “No one’s keeping you from that.”

“I’m very hopeful and I think, in the end, they’ll do the right thing and make sure we have a mask mandate here in Worthington,” Sogal said.

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