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FCPS parents weighing the pros, cons of mask-optional decision in schools

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Mar 15, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For so many, Monday night’s decision to give students in Fayette County Public Schools the option of wearing a mask in class was met with a raucous celebration.

For the better part of two years, various groups, organized and supported by parents who wanted to have that choice haven’t been shy about sharing their feelings about the topic. So Monday’s decision feels like a long-overdue victory. But for others, this decision could present some new, if not intimidating challenges.

Some kids will choose to keep the face coverings. Others may not have a choice because they are immunocompromised. That means respecting someone's decision to choose might be tested now in a much different fashion.

“I don’t think we’ll have that,” Dawne Perkins said when asked if bullying students with masks will be an issue.

Mrs. Perkins organized the “Kentucky Kids Matter” organization, whose members have been very outspoken about having a choice since the beginning.

“I’d say to anyone, ‘he chooses to wear a mask, you choose not to, and both of them are acceptable,’” Perkins said.

The school district is echoing the same sentiment. In a statement released regarding the decision, Superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins wrote, “…We hope you’ll support us in our endeavor to make everyone feel safe and welcome by helping us spread our ‘either way it’s okay’ message.”

Elizabeth Rudd dropped her grandson off at school this morning. He was wearing a mask, and she does think it will be okay.

“I think because they pretty much had to grow up in it, it’s not such a thing to them like it is to the parents,” she wisely stated.

It did, seemingly, become a bigger issue for parents than it was a hassle for the kids. But the real victory here has to be that the people charged with protecting the kids’ health feel as if we’re in a good enough place with COVID-19 transmission rates that these policies can relax.

Perkins is glad for all of it.

“I’ve never been against people making a decision for themselves, but I’ve always been for people getting to make a decision,” she added.

Time will tell if that belief is widely shared now that everyone has a choice.