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Mount Pleasant schools to require masks for some students this fall

This decision was made at this week’s school board meeting.
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 3:51 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) - Mount Pleasant Public Schools have opted to require masks for all students up to the age of 12 this fall and is strongly recommending any unvaccinated students or staff to wear a mask as well.

This decision was made at this week’s school board meeting. Members voted to require masks for this age group after concerns about health risks were raised by a few school board members.

The move to require masks followed a community survey that the school district sent out the week prior asking for input on mask policies and other things.

The survey’s results were shared at Monday’s board meeting. They showed that of the 1,688 responses from parents, staff, and students, 68% wanted no mask mandate whatsoever. Around 12% of respondents wanted masks to be required in certain grade levels and 15% thought that all students should be required to wear masks.

A letter was sent to parents in the community on Tuesday with a full list of the school district’s COVID-19 protocols moving forward.

ABC12 made the trip to Mount Pleasant to see how parents in the community were reacting to the news. Crina Tarasi has two kids in the district and she supports the mask requirement.

“I’m really happy that they reached this decision,” she said.

Tarasi said that having kids in school that are unvaccinated without a mask on is too risky at this point.

“I know it’s uncomfortable to wear the masks all the time but you get used to it,” she said. “And if you don’t like to wear the mask in class when you are healthy, how do you feel about wearing an oxygen mask to save your life? That’s a lot more uncomfortable.”

Tarasi also had concerns about other children that might have health issues to begin with.

“I have several friends and their children have immune problems,” Tarasi said. “So, they would not send their kids to public schools if they do not know that they would be required to wear masks because for some it’s a matter of life or death.”

Another parent that ABC12 caught up with was Breanne Moeggenberg. She had two children in the school district but as of this week, has decided to pull one child out of the district. She does not support the mask policy.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “It is outlandish, it is preposterous, it’s horrible.”

When asked why she felt this way, she said that current COVID-19 case rates are low enough that the masks are not necessary.

Right now, only 45 percent of Isabella County’s residents are vaccinated. This is one the lowest percentages in Mid-Michigan.

Moeggenberg also said she did not support how the school board went about making this decision. She felt members should have taken into account the survey results when deciding what to do.

“They are not leaving that to parent’s choice and they are not truly representative of the parents,” she said about the school board.

Moeggenberg also said that she understands that other people disagree with her stance on the mask policy but she did not want to see this be a requirement.

“Send your child with the mask, put a mask on your child, teach your child about socially distancing if that works for you,” she said. “You know, and I will teach my child that if someone’s wearing a mask, be respectful to them, be respectful of their space because we all have our own wishes and our own needs and our own desires.”

The full school board meeting where this was discussed can be found by clicking here.

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