Parents protest local school districts over required face masks

FAIRBORN, Ohio — Some Miami Valley school districts are reversing their decision to not require masks in school after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference Tuesday where he pleaded with districts to use masks in the classroom.

While some parents support the decision, others are protesting the changes.

Over the past two days, parents have showed their frustration in the change of mask policies at several school districts.

On Thursday morning, several dozen people protested outside the board of education office at Springboro Schools after the district announced students in Kindergarten through sixth grade would be required to wear masks.

A similar situation unfolded on Wednesday as parents in Beavercreek protested the district’s updated mask policy.

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In Fairborn, masks were optional until Wednesday when Supt. Gene Lolli made the decision to require masks for both teachers and students, just one day before the start of school.

“My decision, my decision alone,” Supt. Lolli said.

He said he’s heard nothing from Gov. DeWine in regards to COVID protocols in schools other than when the he requested school district to require masks in the classroom during Tuesday’s press conference.

It was that, coupled with Fairborn School Board members asking for a mask requirement and the current COVID numbers in the county that had Supt. Lolli re-evaluating the district’s mask police.

Supt. Lolli said, “We’ve been watching the numbers very closely and what the hospitals were reporting. If I’m not mistaken, the numbers in Greene County re what they were in February so that was a great concern.”

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According to Supt. Lolli, he’s had parents on both sides contacting him. Some are thankful for the added protection. While others, similar to parents in Springboro and Beavercreek are upset they can’t make the decision to send their kids to school with masks on their own.

Nicole Murphy, who is a Beavercreek parent, said, “I think too many people have been quiet for too long and it’s time to take a stand. I’m not going to let someone else tell my child what to wear.”

Making the decision is a tough call.

Supt. Lolli said, “When you think of student’s safety, it should be an easy decision, but politically, you’ve got the group over here to the left, the group over here to the right that feel strongly about whether you wear a mask or if you don’t. The bottom line is – we want students to be safe.”

According to Supt. Lolli, the mask policy for students may not be in effect for the entire year.

“We will assess the situation every single day. We get into this for another two to four weeks we will reassess again. If the numbers are coming down and I feel it’s appropriate, we may pull back on the masks,” he said.

At this time, there’s no timeline on when or if these mask policies will change.

Kayla Courvell

Kayla Courvell

I was born and raised in a small town just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and decided as a child I was going to be a news reporter.