PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) With 1,100 students currently battling COVID-19 in Plano ISD, there were prayers on Tuesday night, Jan. 11, to demand face masks.
Students told CBS 11 that COVID-19 has a major negative impact on their education because so many teachers are on sick leave without having substitutes available.
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That’s just one of the reasons why a pro-mask group made a strong push for them at this meeting.
“Even today, there are so many teachers, five teachers in our own science department, who are out with COVID, and they do not have enough substitutes, and so we were crammed into a common area,” said Plano East Senior High student Simon Salinas.
The 17-year-old came to the Plano ISD board meeting to argue for a requirement for a face mask in schools.
“I feel very emotional when I walk down a hallway and see no one wearing a mask,” he said. “It’s affected a large part of my life, and I do not want it to affect others.”
The high school senior said his grandparents both died of COVID-19 at just one month intervals.
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But those like Salinas, who pushed for a masked mandate at Tuesday’s school board meeting, were met with as many who are against it as Karri Weadon and her two children.
“When they had to wear a mask, they came home crying because of headaches and they could not breathe very well,” Weadon said. “I promised them they would never wear a mask again when we got rid of the mandate.”
Parents of students with special needs like Robin Fuller say a face mask interferes with her son’s speech therapy.
“Now that we have a vaccine, I want my child to get the education he deserves,” Fuller said. “For him, it specifically means no mask.”
The school board did not take any action on the mask issue because it was not on the agenda, but board members discussed a recruitment plan for substitute teachers.
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The district was down with 190 teachers on Tuesday.