‘I worry about children dying,’ Some Oklahoma parents fear children could contract COVID-19 without mask mandate in schools

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WARR ACRES, Okla. (KFOR) – Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen passionate protests against mask requirements in schools, but other groups across the state are pushing for a mandate. 

Some Putnam City School District parents are taking their fight to the school board meeting Monday evening. 

“I worry about children dying or ending up in the ICU. It’s unnecessary. It’s preventable,” Chelsea Marlett Kennedy said. 

Kennedy’s main reason for planning a protest at the Putnam City School Board meeting is to keep her son and other kids from contracting COVID-19. 

If a mandate is not implemented, Kennedy fears her son will be affected.    

“The teachers aren’t masking. The students aren’t masking, and the vast majority of students here in Oklahoma can’t be vaccinated due to their age,” Kennedy said. 

It’s the fear of the unknown that concerns her and their other parents.

“There’s a whole group of parents out there who are just worried sick about this because we are trying to protect what’s most precious to us,” said Tiffany Ramsel. 

Ramsel has started a petition to make masks mandatory in Norman Public Schools. She told KFOR it had garnered more than 900 signatures.  

She and the Oklahoma group “Moms for Masks” are asking the district to take a stand. 

This weekend, she and the group planned to protest at the state capitol but pulled out because hundreds of people against masks and vaccines showed up.  

“We were actually asked by our partners not to do that for safety precautions. That is how heated this argument is getting right now,” said Ramsel. 

Ramsel told KFOR she’s not going against a new state law banning mask mandates in schools but wants to find a solution for parents who want their child to mask up.

Kennedy told KFOR she hopes a protest will make Putnam City School District consider implementing a mask mandate in schools. 

“It’s time to do the right thing and issue a mask mandate. I know that some people are against it, but it’s better to protect. Even if we lose one kid, that would be far too many,” said Kennedy.

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