To mask or not to mask? Parents make decisions as kids head back to school

As kids headed back to school Tuesday, parents had a decision to make about what’s best for their child and their family. Mask or no mask?

Second-grader Harper walked into class happily without a mask.

“I keep all the, you know, spare masks in the glove compartment, and I told her, I was at the light, like wow, this feels weird; usually, I like show you your slew of options and we don’t need that anymore. She’s like yeah, I’m glad I don’t have to do that,” said mom Sammi Treglown in Collier County.

But rising COVID-19 case numbers have parents like Chelsea Silsby of Collier County making a variety of choices. Her younger son is at home and her older son Jacob started kindergarten fully masked.

“It’s very scary. Like, I was still on the fence up until yesterday; I was really on the fence about letting Jake, my oldest, go to kindergarten,” she said.

“The only way that I can keep him safe is to make sure that everyone he comes in contact with is wearing a mask, and if there’s no mask mandate this year, I’m just fully putting my trust in parents that I’ve never met to be on board and have their kids do the same thing that my kid is doing.”

For Lisa Doeringsfeld, the best choice during the rise in cases is to keep all three of her sons home to do e-Collier Academy. She has a full house with five kids.

“Maybe the housework will not be tended to until my husband gets home in the evening.”

But having a busy house with kids learning at home is worth it as her youngest son has a heart condition.

“He had to undergo a couple of heart surgeries, so just his wellbeing is kind of one of our big priorities right now,” she said.

“We’ll do our best. We just want to do what’s right for our family and what’s going to be best for the kids and for their safety and everything.”

Collier County Public Schools said 91% of students are doing in-person classes this year. They hope to eventually get that number to 100%.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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