Lee County Schools releases form to opt out of masks requirement

The School District of Lee County has released the form for students to opt-out of wearing masks. To access the form, follow this link.

SDLC announced its mask requirement policy on Sunday.

Enforcing the mask requirement and tracking those who opt-out will be left up to each school’s principal, the district said. Because they’ll know who opted out, they will then be able to more easily decide on their own protocols.

There was no consensus among the parents we spoke to about the District’s decision for masks in schools. Some parents we spoke to say they want their child to have a choice, while others are set on sending their kids to class without a mask at a Catholic school where they’re required.

We also spoke to a licensed mental health counselor. She said when kids walk through those doors to school, you can expect them to be confused about the right thing to do: listen to mom or dad or what the teacher tells them.

“Regarding the kids and stuff regarding your health of choice and stuff, it shouldn’t be up to the school,” parent Samantha Velez said.

Velez doesn’t want to fill out the opt-out form, but she is going to submit it as a backup.

“Just in case, if they do forget to take their mask, I don’t want them to get in trouble, or they call me or anything like that,” Velez said. “And I also want them to have the choice to be able to wear it.”

Tess Gevara believes there should be masks worn on the first day of school, but also has a similar mindset about the opt-out form.

“Just in case later on if say the numbers go down, way down, and I feel comfortable, and I feel like she’s safe, then, she has the option to do that,” Gevara said.

The options are what therapist Laura Streyffeler said can add to the confusion.

“The idea that kids feel like the adults can’t make a decision and don’t know what to do, it’s very frightening to a child,” Streyffeler said. “Structure and consistency. And when kids are getting different messages, either from either parent or from the school, they don’t really know what to do.”

Streyffeler said one thing that can help is parents showing a united front on the decision they made for their children.

sdlc mask message
Credit: WINK News

“I don’t know; I feel like it’s going to be a hard thing for them to do, a hard thing for them to track,” said parent Amy Keenum.

She also said she isn’t sure the masks will achieve what they hope. “I don’t. I also don’t feel like the masks are going to do what they want them to do. So why put my kids to where they have to wear this all day?”

Other parents are excited about the requirement and hope their child’s school opts for masking up. “I think it’s a dangerous way to go about it. My mom just passed away from COVID so I’m not liking that policy at all. I think they should wear the mask,” said Sandy Fisher.

Lee County Schools said the mask policy will be in place until Sept. 10. They also said parents can send a note with their children on the first day of school if they’d like to opt-out of the mask requirement.

Lastly, parents will be allowed to escort their children to class on the first day of school.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Gail Levy
Writer:Drew Hill
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