MCCANDLESS, Pa. (KDKA) — The North Allegheny school board held Wednesday’s meeting online after tempers flared at a previous meeting, but parents still voiced their opinions about masks in schools.
Dozens of parents did not hold back their feelings about mask-wearing in schools during the virtual school board meeting.READ MORE: West Virginia Man Accused Of Shooting And Killing Pregnant Woman Taken Into Custody
“I don’t understand, who made each of you God?” parent Janet Redwing said.
“Masks and vaccinations save lives,” said Dr. Victoria Jewell-Mahler, a parent and pediatrician.
It’s been a bumpy road for the district and board. The last meeting on Aug. 25 was shut down because some parents would not comply with the district’s mask policy at the time.
In early September, the Wolf administration put a mask mandate in place for all schools in Pennsylvania. On Wednesday night, the North Allegheny school board voted on two agenda items.
A motion passed in a 6-3 vote to rescind the board’s action last month that made masks optional, which led to a judge granting a temporary restraining order against the board and district.
A motion also passed in a 5-4 vote to require masks indoors after the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s order is lifted for students, staff and visitors while Allegheny County is in “substantial” or “high” categories for community transmission of COVID-19.READ MORE: Take Action Mon Valley Demands Answers After 2 Incidents Involving Police Officers In Homestead
When the county is in “moderate” or “low” transmission, masks will be optional in schools.
“All students at NA deserve the freedom to feel safe while at school. Universal masking helps keep them safe,” said Siao Mei Shick, a parent.
“My youngest daughter comes home with a headache almost every day after school, and she had only had a couple all summer long. Many religious exemptions filed have been denied,” parent Kim Stover said.
Both sides were heard at Wednesday’s meeting. Parents shared why they think it should be their choice.
“I am saddened that our life choices are in the hands of the nine of you and not in myself and my husband’s hands. I don’t understand how you can develop a health and safety plan that discriminates against the very students who sit in your classrooms,” Redwing said.
Parents who are doctors shared why they believe in universal masking.
“Masks do not hinder social and emotional development in our school-aged children. You know what does? Having to quarantine because you were exposed to COVID, waiting out the 10 days prior to being cleared to return sports if you caught COVID, being admitted to the hospital because you have breathing issues or chest pain because of COVID,” Jewell-Mahler said.MORE NEWS: Haiti Gang That Kidnapped U.S. Missionaries Seeks $1 Million Ransom Per Person
There was a motion to table the vote requiring masks when the state mandate is lifted while the transmission is “substantial” or “high,” but that motion failed. Some board members wanted to table it to further discuss the topic.