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Families pushing Clark County School District, county commissioners to lift mask requirement for kids at school

The Clark County School District Headquarters at Sahara and Decatur in Las Vegas as seen in July 2020
Posted at 9:30 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 20:19:49-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Clark County School District's school year ends next week, but many families and concerned citizens want their kids to take the mask off now.

"It ends in eight days. I don't care if it was going to end in eight months," said Bonnie Taylor, a longtime mental health professional, with grandchildren out of state.

Taylor was one of several concerned citizens and CCSD parents who spoke out at the CCSD board meeting last week and plan to show up to the Clark County commissioners' meeting Tuesday.

"We want them to know we're not going to be quiet until they do the right thing," Taylor said.

Taylor pointed to several reasons for allowing kids to go mask-free in school - the high COVID-19 recovery rate in children and the relatively low number of cases. She said she's also observed a change in kids' behavior.

"They stand back," she said. "They don't know what to do. They don't make eye contact. They don't make conversation. It's bad."

A livestream of Tuesday's Clark County Commissioners meeting is available below:

But the CDC is saying not so fast. The agency is recommending schools across America continue with mask requirements through the end of the school year. Their reason is two-fold. Most kids are not fully vaccinated. Either they're under 12 and not yet eligible for the vaccine or they just became eligible and aren't yet fully vaccinated. Also, the CDC said districts need time to make system and policy adjustments.

Dr. Mark Ferdowsian said he's been fielding questions from confused parents about the guidance.

"Vaccination expansion was certainly welcome news down to 12 years of age, but that doesn't really guarantee that parents are ready to immunize their children," he said. "In fact, up to 50% of parents aren't comfortable immunizing their child."

Dr. Ferdowsian said families need to do their due diligence in evaluating the vaccines. In the meantime, he recommended kids in school continue to mask up.

"Stay safe until we know for sure that more than 50% of parents are comfortable vaccinating their children," he said.

The CDC said it will have updated guidance for schools in the next couple of weeks and that could be used to inform planning for the next school year.

The Daily Debrief: a deeper look into this story:

Daily Debrief: Should students still be wearing masks?