FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- “For those who are unfamiliar, our plan includes: wearing a face mask,” Superintendent Chris Himsel said.
Mask wearing was a hot topic of debate at Northwest Allen County Schools' work session at Carroll High School Wednesday evening.
“We’re gonna try and end the mask as soon as possible,” Oakview Elementary Parent Travis Striggle said.
The father of two attended the session representing the group 'Be Not Afraid 365 Allen County.'
“We’re not anti-mask, we’re not anti-teacher, we’re not anti-school corporation. We just want the freedom to have the choice to send our kids to school with or without a mask,” Striggle said.
Carroll High School English Teacher Michael Schaffner also attended.
“It is important to as they said source control to keep the spread of droplets to a minimum to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Schaffner said.
He interacts with students in masks every day and says they’re essential to keeping everyone safe.
“Do they like it? No. Do I like it? No. But, as the medical professionals said there are no studies that indicate that there are harmful impacts to the mental health of students wearing masks or children wearing masks,” Schaffner said.
Health experts on the panel agreed:
What causes a decline in students’ mental health is parents’ stress, family economics, fear of the unknown and social isolation, not wearing a face mask.
President of the Northwest Allen County Educators Association Steve Driver says their priority is keeping students safe.
“We’re interested in keeping students in school. We’ve been in school for 154 days, we have about 26 more days of school. We wanna make sure that the students, the best place for students to get a good education for both social, emotional and physical health is to be in the classroom,” Driver explained.
Public, pediatric, occupational and mental health experts in attendance all agreed that the best way to do so is to continue mask-wearing.