Teachers, parents wonder if students will have to wear masks to school

No final decision made yet on the topic
Posted at 4:00 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 19:09:03-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Going back to school is on the top of every parent's mind right now, with a lot of questions still to be answered: Will children return to schools in the fall, how will that learning look and —a big unknown — will students and teachers have to wear masks?

Whether masks will be a requirement in schools come August is still up in the air for districts in the Kansas City metro.

School leaders want to keep students and employees safe. At a 41 Action News Town Hall on Tuesday evening, Shawnee Mission School District Director of Health Services Shelby Rebeck said that in an ideal situation, everyone would be wearing a mask.

"We are probably going to be strongly encouraging masks rather than requiring. But of course if the county health department recommends higher standards, then we will do what they recommend," Rebeck said.

The final decision will be made by leaders of each district. In the meantime, though, the issue is causing some teachers to wonder how they would make that scenario work.

"We know it kind of reduces the spread while indoors. So I want the kids to be wearing masks and teachers will probably be wearing masks," said Jen Christensen, a teacher in the metro. "But I can't imagine a kindergartener keeping it on for eight hours."

One parent of a kindergartener said she hasn't told her daughter about the possibility of wearing a mask to school simply because things are always changing.

"I just don't feel like it is worth stressing over," Megan Coffey said. "I don't know how she would feel about it. I will not have that conversation until it's a for sure deal."

For now, parents and teachers will have to wait a few more weeks before finding what big changes are coming.

"We just want everyone to be as safe as they can. We want to be in the classroom with our kids; that is why we signed up to be teachers," Christensen said. "We didn't sign up to be remote teachers."