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Last night, Orange County education leaders voted to recommend reopening schools without the mandatory use of masks or increased social distancing – although they suggest there should be temperature controls daily, frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer, along with nighttime disinfection of classroomsJocelyn Gecker reported for the Associated Press in California about the school reopening debate. As she says, on the one hand, parents say: let the children be children. They oppose masks and social distancing in classrooms, arguing that both could harm the well-being of their children.
On the other side, there are parents and teachers who are asking for guarantees that would have been unimaginable before the coronavirus pandemic: part-time school, facial covers for all or a fully online program.

“Don’t tell me my child has to wear a mask,” Kim Sherman, a mother of three in central California, Clovis, who describes herself as very conservative and very pro-Trump, told Gecker. “I don’t need to be forced to tell myself how to raise my kids the best.”

Some parents have threatened to withdraw their children and the funding they provide if masks are needed. Hillary Salway, a mother of three in Orange County, California, is part of a vocal minority calling for the full opening of schools with “normal social interaction”.

If the district needs masks for her son’s kindergarten class, she says, “I don’t know if my son will start his educational career in the public school system this fall.”

She wants him to feel free to kiss his teacher and his friends and cannot imagine sending him to a school where he will be reprimanded for sharing a toy. She launched a petition last month urging her district to “keep facial expressions visually available” and helped organize a demonstration of over 100 people outside the district office, with signs saying “No to masks, Yes to the holidays “and” Let me breathe. ”

Supporters argue that face covers are ineffective, give a false sense of security and are potentially harmful.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that masks can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus to others and urged students and teachers to wear them whenever possible. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to wear them in public.

Brooke Aston Harper, a Liberal parent who recently attended a particularly lively Orange County school board meeting, said it was “horrible” for the speakers to “impose their little worldview on all of us.”

“I’m not looking for a fight, I just want us to take precautions,” said Harper, whose children are 4 and 6 years old.
She also launched a petition, calling on schools to follow state guidelines that include masks for teachers and students, constant social distancing on campus, and other measures.

“For each school board, the question will be: what does our community want and who is the loudest?” she says.

“I will wear a mask, a face shield, maybe gloves, and I even plan to wear some type of body covering,” says Stacey Pugh, a fifth-grade teacher in the Houston suburbs. She hopes her district of Aldine will impose masks on the students. “In the fall, we’re going to be the front line workers,” said Pugh.

Many small rural communities argue that they should not have to follow the same rules as larger cities, where infection rates are higher.

Craig Guensler, a superintendent of a small Yuba county, mostly rural in California, said authorities will try to live up to state mandates. They spent $ 25,000 on what he calls “spit guards, for lack of a better term” – clear plexiglass dividers to separate the offices of the four schools in the Wheatland Unified School District.

Eighty-five percent of parents said in a survey that they wanted their children to attend school full time. Officials will space the desks as much as possible, but are still waiting up to 28 in each classroom, said Guensler. Many parents strongly insist that their children not wear masks, and he suspects that they will find flaws if California needs them.

“We expect pediatricians to write notes, saying,” My child cannot wear a mask, “he said.

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