"This is unfair, this is unhealthy physically and mentally. Enough is enough. End the mandatory mask mandate."
"I've done research and have a lot of information, facts found by several different studies from doctors. The main idea from all those studies is that A - masks do not work and B - they cause more harm than help the children."
"At first putting a mask on my child seemed like a safe thing to do - and it has been - but now after their masks come home dirty and soggy from being chewed on, I no longer believe this is the safest thing. The amount of germs being spread can't possibly be good."
At the end of their regular meeting Monday night, Hall County School Board members listened to Assistant Superintendent of Technology Aaron Turpin read aloud 21 emails from parents - all but one of them urging the Board to abandon a mandatory mask mandate for students for the upcoming school year. The emails were included in the public input portion of the meeting, which in the past - prior to the COVID pandemic - was held in person.
According to one of the pieces of correspondence, 400 people had signed a petition calling on board members to suspend mandatory masking for students.
Nath Morris, the Vice-Chair for the Board, said after listening to the emails he was unsure what prompted the correspondence, but he understood the parents' frustration.
"There must have been something on social media that said we were going to vote tonight, but that wasn't the case," Morris said, noting that the only item on the agenda pertaining to the upcoming school year was a discussion about current COVID conditions in the school district and what might happen in the fall.
Superintendent Will Schofield acknowledged the "genuine concern" he heard in the tone of the emails, but he said now is not the time to make a decision on health protocols for the new school year.
"We certainly all have said we do hope that we begin next school year in what looks like normal...and if trends continue, we certainly hope we'll be there, but to make a decision today about something that's coming up five months from now would not be prudent," Schofield said.
Schofield asked that all of the emails and information linked in the correspondence be shared with each board member.