A community meeting was held Wednesday evening to discuss the possibility of unmasking the kids in the Johnson County School District, with those attending both in favor of, and against removing the masks from the kids.
Parent Shanell Hatch organized and hosted the meeting that had Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Schueler and members of the Johnson County School Board in attendance.
Some of the concerns raised by parents wanting to unmask kids included the inability of kids and teachers to hear each other when wearing them, safety and hygiene issues from constantly wearing them, and the harm it may be doing to the kids’ psyche.
Dr. Schueler said there appears to be some possible consequences such as skin problems, reduced oxygen levels, and more headaches from wearing masks in certain circumstances but that it doesn’t seem to affect healthy people as badly, and he doesn’t have much concern of the effects on children who are usually healthier than the general population.
School board member Mary McCorkle said they have made the decision for the district based on what is better for everyone, and Dr. Schueler explained why the rules for masks are currently in place.
After more discussion, Dr. Schueler said, “medically speaking, I think we’ll have fewer cases and potentially fewer lives lost locally if we are more careful, but we have the luxury of a low impact right now. If we’re able to be less restrictive in our lifestyle, that may be an experiment we as a community decide to undertake and it may be the right thing.”
He then told those attending that if the parents, school board and administration are all in agreement and decide they want a variance for masks to be optional in Johnson County schools, he would send the request on to State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist for review.
No decisions were made at the meeting, and the next step is for the parents to organize and submit their variance request.