HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) – Hilliard City Schools Board of Education held a crucial vote when it comes to masking and the start of the school year.
The board met Monday at Weaver Middle School, where the meeting space was filled with a few hundred parents, all with strong opinions about masks.
The board voted to put the decision on whether masks will be worn in the classroom in the hands of the district’s superintendent.
Residents voiced their opinions on face masks to fight the COVID-19 virus, from personal choice to universal masking.
“You should be able to wear a mask, OK?” said parent Lee Wagner. “But I also feel like, as a citizen of the United States, I have the right to raise my children without masks.”
“The virus doesn’t care about our opinions on masks,” said parent Theresa Johnson. “It is just doing what it does, which is replicate and spread through the air to as many warm bodies as it can.”
The crowd of Hilliard City School parents were split on what mask policy should be in place when school starts Aug. 19.
The board allowed for all parents to speak at Monday’s meeting, extending public comment beyond the approved 45 minutes.
“With all due respect, you are a school board,” said parent Steph Cram. “You are not a medical board. You have no authority to determine or enforce any medical restrictions or mandates.”
“But I believe my daughter has the freedom to safely attend school in person,” said parent David Crane.
In the end, the board approved a resolution calling for mandatory masks on school buses, as the CDC mandates, and puts the power of the masking decision in classroom in the superintendent’s hands.
“Authorizes the superintendent to make determinations with the use of masks at the classroom, building- and district-wide levels,” said Hilliard City School Superintend David Stewart.
Board members shared their opinions on the matter as well.
“I have already shared with Mr. Stewart that I believe the safety of our youngest students, who are unable to be vaccinated, is crucial,” said school board president Lisa Whiting.
“I have full faith and confidence in them to make these decisions after they’ve considered all of the data,” said board member Brian Perry.
A district spokesperson said Stewart was unable to speak on the decision Monday, but more information would likely be released Tuesday morning regarding his decision on masks for back to school.
The full text of the resolution passed by the board can be found by clicking here.