Parents react ahead of Huntsville City Schools health and safety meeting

"One thing I’ve noticed is how psychologically harmful this is on our kids, and I think that’s an aspect that’s been overlooked or set aside for now," said Clarie Nelson. "One of the giant things I feel is with these masks."

Posted: Jul 25, 2021 4:57 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2021 5:44 PM

Wearing a mask in schools is an ongoing conversation among parents in Madison County. 

On Monday, Huntsville City Schools is holding a meeting to discuss health and safety procedures for the upcoming school year. 

The board made the decision to make masking in schools optional on July 1. That decision, made some parents concerned for their children's health. 

"We need to require masks for everyone," said Sean Kruer, a Huntsville City Schools parent. "The unfortunate thing is that an optional masking policy is simply not effective."

Kruer has two young children in the school district. They're unable to get vaccinated based on their age. Kruer's concerned children will go to school without a mask and the virus will spread. 

He's hoping at Monday's meeting, the school board will have a discussion and ultimately make a decision based on new information from health leaders. 

"We’ve heard from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, anything other than a masking requirement for the first half of the school year doesn’t make sense, so I’m really hoping that’s what we’re going to be getting out of this meeting," said Kruer. 

Other Huntsville City School parents want masking to remain optional. 

"One thing I’ve noticed is how psychologically harmful this is on our kids, and I think that’s an aspect that’s been overlooked or set aside for now," said Clarie Nelson, a Huntsville City Schools parent. "One of the giant things I feel is with these masks."

Nelson also has two young kids in the school district. She says kids are affected by masks in more ways than just one and said masking, should be a personal choice. 

"As parents, we should have the right to be able to say I feel more comfortable with my child in a mask, or I feel comfortable without my child in a mask," said Nelson. 

There are less than two weeks until the first day of school. Huntsville City Schools returns on August 4. 

"There have been children who have been hospitalized, so just throwing caution into the wind and leaving this to the last second, instead of taking proactive steps to protect our students and their family members is irresponsible," said Kruer.

Nelson said she believes the district is calling the meeting after pushback from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Earlier this week, the group released a notice that everyone, vaccinated or not, should wear a mask in schools. 

"The CDC and The American Academy of Pediatrics, all those power to be, have changed their stance it feels like weekly," said Nelson. 

Kruer said taking his kids out of in-person school isn't something he and his wife want to do, but it's something they're considering. 

"I'm hopeful we won’t have to make that decision," said Kruer. "My wife’s a teacher, I understand the importance of in-person school."

Kruer said he emailed several board members about optional masking in Huntsville City Schools. He hasn't heard back from any of them. 

Monday's health and safety procedure meeting will be at 3p.m. 

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