Penn-Harris-Madison School Board to decide on mask requirements for the 2021-2022 school year

NOW: Penn-Harris-Madison School Board to decide on mask requirements for the 2021-2022 school year

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is leaving it up to local health departments and school districts to decide whether mask wearing should be required.

The South Bend Community School Corporation is now making masks mandatory for students, teachers and staff this year and Mishawaka schools are keeping them optional.

Now, the Penn-Harris Madison School Board is trying to decide what to do and will take up the matter at a meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Many Penn high school parents have protested against the possibility of mask requirements being reinstated since they became optional on July 15th.

The updated guidelines announced by the department Friday states all faculty, visitors and those in kindergarten through 12th grade, vaccinated or not, should wear masks indoors.

Still, some parents are split on whether or not they should be given a choice.

One South Bend mom says her kid’s kindergarten class at Madison Steam Academy started two weeks early so they could get used to masking up and learn why it is important to keep them on.

But, she admits that this is a hot topic and that lots of factors should be considered.

“Kind of got mixed feelings about it. Oh, I really think that they should be able to have… be free to wear the masks since a lot of the teachers have gotten the shot, the vaccination but if it’s for the safety of the kids. I think yes, they should,” said Ester Wilkeson, a South Bend parent.

With coronavirus cases surging once again---and the delta variant becoming more prominent--many parents say this debate should not be taken lightly.

“COVID is starting to spread in spots in America so it’s looking like it’s probably going to come back. So, I think they should at least have a mask on when they come to school,” said Mike Stuckey, a South Bend parent.

Still, Stuckey believes it should be up to other people to make the choice for themselves and their kids.

These new guidelines fall in line with the CDC’s that encourages school districts to make masks mandatory indoors while taking public transportation like school buses.

One factor that comes into play is that those under the age of 12 can’t get vaccinated yet.

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