NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - A big decision from New Albany-Floyd County Schools. Students who return to school for the fall semester will be required to wear a face mask, shield, or covering. The decision is garnering mixed feelings from parents and students.
Alexis Vantassell, a junior to be at New Albany High School, has concerns about the idea of having to wear a mask at school.
“I don’t like the mask,” Alexis said. “I’m really claustrophobic and they give me panic attacks when i have to wear them.”
“She may do the virtual thing,” Tracey Vantassell, Alexis’ mother said. “She doesn’t want to go back to wearing a mask and being uncomfortable. I understand why they want to do it but, I don’t think I’m going to make her go if she doesn’t want to.”
NAFC district officials want to remind families that kids K-12 can still learn virtually if parents or students aren’t comfortable with going back to school. The ones who do return to the classroom must wear a mask.
“As they enter school, the goal will be to have them not congregate in a common area and head straight to their first period class,” said Dr. Steve Griffin, NAFC Assistant Superintendent. “Teachers will have the autonomy to determine when masks can be taken off inside the classroom when we are able to socially distance inside the classroom.”
Masks will be provided to students if they don’t have one.
“We don’t want it to be punitive situation where students are recieving consequences for not wearing a mask but, the expectation is the requirement will be that they wear a mask,” Dr. Griffin said. “If they don’t have one we will provide it.”
If a parent refuses to have their child wear a mask or if a student refuses to wear one, the district hopes to talk to parents and students.
“We would like to sit down and talk about the options that we have,” Dr. Griffin said. “Maybe the digital option is better for that student to start the year.”
As far as lunch, students will be distanced and can obviously take the masks off to eat. It’s recommended that students wear masks on the school bus, but the district acknowledges that it can get hot on a bus.
They are encouraging parents who can, to drop off and pick up their children. Teachers and school staff will also be wearing masks.
“We have two choices to make, we can be upset about our current global situation or we can make the best of it,” Dr. Griffin said. “I know our teachers are going to do a great job at making the best of it.”
New Albany-Floyd County schools will be providing electronic devices for all students.
“We will allowing or issuing electronic devices to every student k-12 this year,” Dr. Griffin said. “This will be the first year we do that. If something does happen and we go into another shut down we will be able to have the digital option for all of our students at a moment’s notice.”
School starts July 29 for New Albany-Floyd County Schools.