Parent express concerns over GIPS COVID-19 policies during board meeting
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Grand Island Public Schools Board of Education had their monthly meeting on Thursday, and this time they had an audience of parents and community members who asked the district to change their mask and sporting event policies.
They started the meeting with an open forum where people could speak for about three minutes expressing their concerns. The GIPS Board of Education explained the rules of the forum. Audience members had to wear their masks at all times, and had to fill out a form to speak their peace.
“I’m very concerned about our children’s mental and physical well-being as their being forced to wear masks in school for over eight hours a day,” Shree Arends said.
Arends asked the district to give students two breaks from their masks each day for at-least five minutes to get fresh air.
“The only time they get a break is at lunch," Arends said. “I realize that they can ask for a mask break, but what kid is actually going to do that? They don’t even want to answer questions called upon by their teachers, and they don’t want to stand out as being different.”
Arends also said masks are useless since cases are rising even with people being masked up. She also believes students shouldn’t be wearing masks during sports and gym class, because she researched it’s a danger to their health.
“I would just like to ask if you would please consider giving us a choice," Arends said. "We live in America, and we deserve a choice to wear a mask, or not to wear a mask.”
Joan Sabott is a parent of two boys at Seedling Mile, and she is a fan of the GIPS mask policy. According to her research, she said if everyone wore a mask it would reduce the spread of the virus to nearly zero percent in only eight weeks.
“My concern is that there are people in our community who are tapping into - power to persuade local businesses to not wear masks, and now they’re pushing on schools to create optional masks policies," Sabott said. "The unsubstantiated narratives out there are worrisome, anti-intellectual and manipulative.”
Chad Keezer was up next, and asked why the district couldn’t figure out a way to let visiting team fans watch games at Memorial Stadium.
“We have more than enough room in a brand new stadium to have 500 visitors spaced 6-feet-apart, and we have room for four individuals per player on our on side," Keezer said. "I honestly think you maybe need to look at this again.”
The school district listened to people’s concerns and took notes to discuss them in the future. They said they’ve been trying to figure out a solution to the spectator policy since the start of the school year. The board is still considering changing the policy for the upcoming game, but said the rise in cases this week has made them reluctant to move forward.
Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.