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'Quit pitting kids against each other': Group launches 'Let Them Play' campaign to end masks in Ky. schools

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The fight over mask mandates isn't done yet. As the next school year approaches, some districts have already mandated face coverings for unvaccinated students.

Dawne Perkins, founder of the group "Let Them Play," wants schools to let parents make the choice.

With a month to go until school starts, the group of parents has a message for the Kentucky Department of Education.

"Make the decision that masks are not required," said Perkins. "Let people choose. If you wanna wear them, wear them. If you don't wanna wear them, don't. If you want to get vaccinated, do. If you don't wanna get vaccinated, don't. But quit pitting kids against each other."

Perkins founded "Let Them Play" last year to advocate for student athletes during the pandemic.

Almost one year later, she's rallying parents against mask mandates in schools, for unvaccinated kids.

Her latest Facebook post asks families to let state education leaders know how they feel.

"Kids are in the battleground," said Perkins. "I mean, they're in the wool right now, right smack in the middle of it, and they didn't choose to be there."

The CDC's latest guidance says unvaccinated children should continue to wear masks at school, and with no vaccine approved for kids younger than 12, it appears many districts will require face coverings this fall.

"They can't be protected yet," said Kentucky public health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack. "They can get infected, and there are studies that have shown that they do spread infection."

But Perkins hopes enough pressure from parents, can sway state leaders.

"If we spent half as much time and energy on encouraging kids and getting them excited, to go back to school, we'd be a lot further ahead than where we are right now," she says.

There are nearly 40,000 members in the "Let Them Play in Kentucky" Facebook page. Perkins says she hopes just as many people call and email the Kentucky Department of Education.