Debate continues on mask requirements in the classroom in Johnson County

OLATHE, Kan. – The first students in Johnson County will return to school in three weeks.

A new debate about masked duty will follow them into the classroom. Metro school districts have made their guidelines, which do not always match the views of parents.

The ongoing debate spilled over into the latest Johnson County Commission meeting Thursday morning, in which passionate parents on both sides of the face mask debate sparred in favor of and against recommended mask requirements.

Last week, the Johnson County Health Department recommended that six school districts require masks for students who are not vaccinated. Administrators for counties in Olathe, Blue Valley, DeSoto, Spring Hill and Gardner-Edgerton have chosen to start the year without a mask. Leaders of the Shawnee Mission School District are expected to make a decision early next week.

“Masks aren’t perfect, but they work,” said Jennifer Robinson, a mask-loving parent at school. “We need to listen to actual science.”

Dr. Sanmi Areola, Johnson County Health Officer, told county commissioners and parents that the issue of face masks is extremely important – and based on data from county health leaders – going back to school without a mask is a recipe for disaster.

“When masks were made mandatory in July, the infection rate spiked. I ask you to look at the other side of things. Shara Collins, a parent opposed to the mask requirements, said.

“I ask you this – if it is your child who is at high risk, what if you had to send the child you have spent your life protecting to school in this environment?” Ryan Zimmerman, a parent speaking in support of the mission, said. “Speak loudly. Don’t be selfish. Think of others.

“Let’s make our public sane instead of instilling fear of a virus that 99.8% of us have and will live on,” said Laura Klingensmith, a parent who opposes the mandate. ,” said Laura Klingensmith, a parent who opposed the mission. “Ultimately, I am the parent, and I make the decision whether my child should wear a mask, get vaccinated or not.” | Debate continues on mask requirements in the classroom in Johnson County


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