P-H-M welcomes back students for first day, local health experts voice concerns

NOW: P-H-M welcomes back students for first day, local health experts voice concerns

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- Following a year of hybrid learning, the Penn-Harris-Madison school district is eager to get kids back in the classroom. Wednesday marks the first day of school for grades 1-12. Of course, the question on everyone’s mind…to mask or not to mask?

P-H-M announced earlier this month that masks will be optional for their students. Several parents voiced their opinions over the decision, and just yesterday health officials also weighed in on the conversation.

The Penn-Harris-Madison school district voted to make masks optional in a 5 to 2 vote following a school board meeting earlier this month. Many parents already spoke out about the issue, and some even protested in front of the school. Local health experts adding their own remarks.

Tuesday, Beacon Children’s Hospital sent a letter to the board asking they listen to science and mandate masks for everyone. Even with school starting today, doctors are saying it is not too late for them to switch their decision.

“We do hope that the P-H-M school board and families of students really look at what is available as far as facts and recommendations from local, state, and national health departments and follow the guidelines to wear a mask and the strong recommendations to wear a mask,” says Kate Dutkiewicz, Medical Director at Beacon Children’s Hospital.

ABC57 has reached out to P-H-M’s superintendent for comment. Dr. Jerry Thacker saying the district appreciates Beacon’s point of view, and the information in the letter will be used in the presentation for the upcoming school board meeting on Monday.

Stick with ABC57News for the latest updates.  

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