CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — To mask or not to mask — that is the question local school districts must answer ahead of this fall. Earlier this week, the state announced that localities get the power to decide which COVID-19 safety measures they will have in place.
As localities decide what to do, parents are telling school districts to make the right choice. However, the right choice can be completely different depending on who you ask.
Richmond and Hopewell’s school districts recently decided masks will be required in classrooms for teachers and staff regardless of if they’re vaccinated. Dinwiddie’s school district told 8News masks will “most likely” be optional.
The area’s largest district, Chesterfield, is one of the many others still debating. “I’d like the county to show some courage,” said Mike Karabinos in an intherview with 8News Friday. He has two children in Chesterfield county schools. “Don’t act like this is over because Delta is spreading a lot faster than you can believe,” he said.
Karabinos thinks masks should be mandatory in schools with kids under 12 years old. He said the district should require students over 12 years old and staff be vaccinated. He said if vaccines aren’t required for those 12 and older in school, masks should be mandatory for those staff members and students, too.
“If I’m part of a community, it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m protecting people around me,” he said. “That means I’m wearing a mask if I’m not vaccinated.”
Chesterfield mom of three, Tanya Kelley, said parents should have the choice. “It makes me sick to my stomach every time I see them put a mask on,” she said, “because I want them to breathe.”
Kelley said kids should be allowed to be kids again. “I think mandates are creating an unnecessary division and the only way to get past that is to give the power back to the parents and the families.”
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.