Parents, teachers and students voice frustration and approval with Edmond Schools mask mandate, quarantine rules in school board meeting

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EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Parents, teachers and students of the Edmond school district got the chance to voice their frustration or approval with Edmond Public Schools’ mask mandate and quarantine rules Thursday during a public comment portion of a school board meeting.

Two weeks ago, the Edmond School Board voted to delegate decision making to their superintendent Angela Grunewald. Grunewald said the vote was done so quick, decisions could be made in the middle of the pandemic.

About one week after that, a mask mandate came down. Some parents and even a student said they were upset at the mandate itself as well as the quarantine rules. However, some teachers in the district and parents said they were happy with the mandate and other protocols in place. The district is only a couple days into their mandate.

“If wearing a mask can save one child’s life, I feel like it’s worth it,” said Melissa Martin with Moms for Masks.

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Melissa Martin, an Edmond parent, said she supports the mask mandate because it saves lives.

“Parents should be the ultimate authority in the medical decisions that need to be made for their children,” said Brian Shellem, who has kids in Edmond Public Schools.

The decision Grunewald made to mandate masks in the district with a few opt out options had parents like Shellem questioning both that and the quarantine rules.

“We also don’t think kids should be discriminated against whether they’re vaccinated or not vaccinated, masked or not masked,” Shellem said.

Shellem said he isn’t anti mask or vaccine, but just wants parents to have the choice. He said he opted his child out of the mask mandate.

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Brian Shellem, also an Edmond parent, said he wants parents to have a choice.

The district requires unvaccinated students to quarantine if they come in close contact. Vaccinated students don’t have to do that unless they start to develop symptoms.

Martin said she agrees with the mandate and other protocols in place.

“We want every child to be able to have a safe learning experience,” Martin said.

A teacher in the Edmond school district said she was in agreement as well.

“The required masks for all students and using the split schedule as long as we did had an impact on the safety of our students and their teachers,” the teacher said during public comment at the meeting.

The district is seeing 255 active cases among students. They also have about 1,000 total quarantines. However, parents and one student in the district said they are not happy with the decisions made by Grunewald.

“It is adding stress on students, it is making parents mad, it is unfair to teachers and most of all it is once again interfering with the education of our students,” the student said during public comment at the meeting.

“Kids should be given a medical choice and be treated equally,” another parent said during public comment at the meeting.

KFOR spoke to Grunewald before the board went into executive session. She said nothing will change right now, but everything is fluid. She said they check their numbers and speak with the health department and will make changes, as necessary.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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