Parents attend Victor Board of Education after NYSED released reopening guidelines

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VICTOR, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Department of Education (NYSED) released its 2021-2022 School Reopening Plan Thursday.

The plan follows both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of masks being worn by students, and staff inside school buildings.

Thursday night, the Victor Central School District held its first school board meeting since the NYSED guidelines were released.

Parents filled the board room at the VCSD meeting Thursday night to talk about the district’s plan for universal indoor masking for school buildings. Before they got a chance to speak, 13-year-old Jody Mead went first to deliver a plea for the district to require that everyone wear a mask.

"We are so close to getting vaccines for all. Why shouldn’t we hang on until then. It wouldn’t be that hard to wear our masks to school," Mead said.

She went on to quote CDC data. At least 542 children in the U.S. died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Parents like Michele Haarr don’t agree.

"We allowed the state, this country, to put our children in this position to scare the living daylights out of them where they are still believing that they can die if they don’t wear a mask, or get a vaccine," Haarr said.

Like many other parents, Haarr said under no circumstances will her children wear a mask while at school.

"I will be holding you liable on many levels if you even think about asking my children to put a mask on," Haarr said.

Ann Rine is happy her children will return to five days a week of in-person classes. One of her main concerns is the social, and emotional health of her children. She says masks should be optional, not mandatory.

"Let the parents have a choice whether their child needs a mask, or not. If the parents want their kids masked go for it. Wear 10 masks, I don’t care. If that’s what you feel is necessary, you go for it, but if my kid doesn’t want to wear a mask, or I don’t want my kid to wear a mask we should have the choice," said Rine.

Click here to read the School Reopening Guidance set by the New York State Education Department.