Emotions ran high in Boonville Monday night as dozens of parents rallied against the Warrick County School Corporation’s recent mask mandate.
“We’re so far into this and there are a lot of conflicting reports on the effectiveness of masks and we would just like our kids to get back to normal," WCSC mom and event organizer Dani Nickens said.
Following the announcement on August 4 that it would require masks in all school buildings for the beginning of the school year, WCSC was expecting pushback, but the district got a whole room of it, as supporters with the Warrick County: Un-Mask Our Kids group packed the school board’s meeting.
With classes resuming Wednesday, the parents were eager to use their final opportunity to stand before the board and voice their opposition to the policy change.
“I don’t think any of us were really surprised when they did mandate masks again, we were kind of expecting it, but we all just feel like it should be a choice at this point," Nickens said.
"Choice" is the heart of the matter for the group, and they feel that’s what’s been taken away from them. They said they aren't necessarily asking for masks to go away, they just want to take the decision back into their own hands.
When the school corporation announced it would require masks, Superintendent Dr. Todd Lambert told parents the plan was to continue to evaluate the data on a weekly basis, and as soon as they saw positivity rates decline they would take the masks off.
Despite more than two hours of public comment Monday, WCSC still plans to require masks until at least the end of August. One board member did motion for the board to vote to make masks optional again, and another member seconded.
The board discussed the motion for some time but ultimately decided to uphold its decision to require masks. It's a short-term strategy, which the district hopes will keep students safe and avoid any disruptions to in-person learning.