Collier County school board meeting in recess after parents remove masks
Students in Collier County Public Schools are required to wear face masks, but some parents think it should be optional and they’re making their voices heard at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
A petition so far has close to 3,000 signatures from parents demanding the school district make masks optional, and dozens showed up outside the school district headquarters to protest as board members met.
A woman attending the afternoon meeting removed her mask and told other parents to remove theirs as well, forcing the board to take a recess.
One mom voiced concerns over the health effects the face coverings could have on her children. Both have asthma and she doesn’t know if wearing a mask all day, every day, is the best option.
“There are kids… just for their health, they shouldn’t be,” the mother said. “I was wondering, too, with my kids… they have asthma, so I don’t think it’s the best thing for them to be in [masks] all day.”
She also believes it’s taking a toll on students in other ways.
“They aren’t able to see each other’s expressions, they aren’t able to see each other’s faces,” she said. “I have a little boy in speech therapy … you know, they rely on the mouth and how it moves … there’s just so many pieces to the puzzle.”
Tanya Demelo says she has kept her kids home from school since March because of the mandate.
“They’re breathing in all of this carbon dioxide that you’re putting out, coughing, sneezing into it, taking it off, putting it on a table, putting it back on your face – it’s disgusting,” said Demelo.
While parents have strong opinions on this topic, the school district responded by saying mask-wearing remains a critical approach to safely reopening schools. They added that NCH Healthcare System doctors and other health care officials continue to reiterate the importance of mask-wearing to stop the spread.
WINK News has a crew at the school board meeting. Trust us to update this story with any decisions made by the board.