SBCSC votes to require mask wearing to start the school year

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- The South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees voted Monday night to require all students, staff, and visitors to wear masks for the upcoming school year, regardless of vaccination status. The decision came after the CDC recommended universal mask wearing for schools late last week.

"We had to make that decision because of the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Association of Pediatrics," said John Anella, President of the South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees. "As we see the case numbers increase nationally, the hospitalizations increase, we felt at this point we’re going to have to go back to masks."

Several parents were in attendance at Monday's meeting to speak against the vote.

"The rationale for forcing a mandate on all young, healthy children is not only unnecessary, but cruel," said Jennifer Hill, a parent of SBCSC students. "The virus symptoms a child may get will come and go but the emotional, mental, and physical toll of masking our children will last a lifetime."

Many of the parents at Monday's meeting agreed that mask wearing should be left up to the parents, not the administration. 

"We have never and will never co-parent with the government," said Annie Grewe, another parent. "I’ve come here today to warn you that the parents have had enough."

Board officials say this move was the only way to protect vulnerable students and staff members.

"Right now our vaccinations for 0-11 year olds are nonexistent," said SBCSC Board Member Dr. Ruth Warren.

Some parents, on the other hand, warn that students will live the district altogether because of this vote.

"After the hardships of the past year and a half, the virtual learning, canceled sports and activities, transportation issues, and above all watching my children suffer from mask wearing daily in school, I will no longer sit idly by and watch our beloved school system be ruined by the decisions of this board," said Hill. 

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