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Clark County School District mask policy at center of heated public comments

CCSD mask debate
Posted at 10:05 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 02:20:28-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — To mask or not to mask? That question was at the center of heated comments from parents at Thursday’s Clark County School District school board meeting. It comes as the district revealed its school opening plans for next year.

“I have not heard one voice expressing support at these meetings for mandatory masks, yet we persist with the mask policy,” said parent Jamie Sully.

Other criticisms included confusion and wanting parents to make that choice for their kids rather than the district.

“The desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic,” said Paul Hack, another parent who voiced concerns.

RELATED: What happens if there's a COVID-19 case at Clark County School District schools?

Currently, the mask policy has masks optional for Pre-K through third graders and sixth graders and above if they’re fully vaccinated. It’s mandatory for fourth and fifth graders. Supt. Dr. Jesus Jara says there’s a reason for this policy.

“The reason why fourth and fifth graders have to wear masks is that the vaccine is not available to them, so that’s why we have to follow the directive from the governor and also from the CDC,” he said.

RELATED: Will distance learning continue to be an option for Clark County School District?

Public comments at one point got heated to where a public speaker was kicked out and a short recess was called.

Some teachers say the mask policy is fine but had questions on how it would be enforced, saying an honor system is not reliable for their safety.

“It’s hard to believe they were vaccinated, yet they are here maskless. How can we trust who should or should not be wearing masks, when parents are openly stating online they’re sending their unvaccinated children maskless no matter what,” Sarah Conroe, a teacher in the district.

The latest numbers from CCSD show that more than 245,000 students have registered as of July 1, which is more than pre-pandemic levels of enrollment.

This plan is not being voted on and Supt. Jara says it’s a “living document” with possible changes coming if needed.