mask mandate

South Bay Mother Urges School District to Allow Students to Take Masks Off Outside

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A South Bay mother is urging her school board to let older kids take their masks off outside during physical education and lunch. 

Karen Westfield said she understands the importance of wearing masks, but not when middle school kids are running outdoors.

It was free time for PE class Friday at Chaboya Middle School in honor of Halloween and just like other classes, during PW, everyone wears a mask, even though they’re outdoors and a significant number are vaccinated.

“Our covid prevention plan does have kids wearing masks indoor and outdoor. But we do have exceptions for that, like when you’re involved in strenuous activity, you can remove your mask,” said Aaron Brengard, Evergreen Director of Safety. 

But some parents think the Evergreen School District Standard needs to change.  

“I don’t run or exercise with a mask on. I don’t think kids should either,” said Westfield.

She is getting parents together to lobby the school board next week, she wants to change the rules for middle schoolers, who are of vaccination age.

She points to the fact that almost two-thirds of children, ages 12-17, in Santa Clara County are fully vaccinated.

 “You have hot days, August, September and October, and the kids are having to wear a mask outdoors during PE,” SAID Westfield. “They have to run the mile every week.”

The parent is all for wearing masks inside the classroom. It’s only the outdoor rule that she’s hoping to change.

The California Public Health Department says wearing masks outdoors in K-12 schools is optional. But not in Evergreen, or a majority of other Bay Area school districts “Mask wearing has been our number one mitigation strategy and allows us to get back to school. I would hate to send an entire class home,” said Brengard.
Evergreen says it understands the mask fatigue, but for now, they say they’ll keep doing what’s best to keep their COVID numbers low.

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