NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) — When state health orders lift June 2, so will the order for masking at one local school district.
New Albany Plain Local Schools said masks will be optional for the last week of school.
Parents in the community are divided on the decison, asking why this change was made before the last five days of school.
“I found it a little unnerving because there’s, at the point we don’t have to wear masks anymore, there’s only going to be 5 days left of school,” explained parent Shelby Levinson. She got an email alert Tuesday afternoon.
Levinson worries about her sons, especially her 15-year-old.
“My son had his vaccination on the very first day you could get it, so his second one is June 2 and they don’t consider you feel vaccinated for two weeks,” she said.
The school board unanimously approved the change Tuesday morning during a special meeting.
“Facial coverings while indoors or outdoors on school property, at school-related activities or events, or while participating in school transportation services shall be optional, otherwise enacted by a health order or by law,” said New Albany Plains Local School Board President John McClelland, reading the changes for the board.
The board typically meets every fourth Monday of the month.
“It was more for me in the way the news came out,” said parent Precious Singo. “It was a more of a shock and a surprise. Most of us didn’t know there was a special board meeting that occurred.”
The district said no one was available to discuss the decision.
During the meeting, school board members said contact tracing and quarantine rules will be in place, but also discrimination and ridicule on masking is not ok.
“I just ask that the community pause and be mindful and respectful of fellow students, neighbors, regardless of which path they choose going forward, whether to mask or not mask,” said School Board Member Mike Busch.
Singo says she appreciated that part of the meeting.
“We shouldn’t encourage them to make people feel differently or feel bad about the choices,” she said. “A lot of times, the kids aren’t making, like, I said, I told my youngest to go ahead and wear a mask. That wasn’t a choice he made, I told him to do that.”
Levinson said unmasking now isn’t worth the risk.
“What is five days?’ she said. “Five days to keep my kid from having to be quarantined.”
The school board also announced plans to operate the next school year and beyond without COVID-19 restrictions.