MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) – On July 13, the Mitchell School Board voted unanimously in favor of mandating masks for all returning staff and students. While many parents see this as a way to help stop the spread of COVID-19, some see that it could hinder their children’s education.
There’s no question that it’s been a challenge for school districts to come up with a plan to educate students through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Of course, more and more questions come each day, and the research and the recommendations are… they never seem to come as fast as you want them,” Mitchell School District Superintendent Joseph Graves said.
Graves and his school board deemed masks mandatory in all schools.
“It basically came down on the fact that if we want to slow the spread of this contagion, we’re going to need to do this,” Graves said.
This decision, however does raise concern for parents like Jessica Anderson.
“The masks end up kind of being a big issue for us,” Anderson said.
Her 6-year-old son Charlie has been in speech therapy since he was 3. This is the result of him getting constant ear infections when he was a baby.
“I’m just nervous that with listening to people speak through a mask, you know, for 7 or 8 hours a day, that we might see some regression with him,” Anderson said.
In response, Anderson is quitting her full-time job to start an e-learning daycare. This is to help parents who still have to go into work but aren’t comfortable having their kids in class. Anderson says she will start out by hosting a maximum of 10 students. The school district is also doing their best to help students with similar traits. Early literacy, speech and language will have certain exceptions to the rule.
“We’ll have partitions and they may also have – they will have face shields and they will have clear masks… just so that the students can see their mouth and that the teacher can see the students’ mouths ,” Graves said.
This school year may be uncomfortable, but Anderson says you just have to do what you feel is best.
“You’ve just got to listen to your heart and do what you think is best for your family,” Anderson said.
Anderson says her daycare will begin on Tuesday, August 18th.
You can visit the Mitchell School District’s website for more information on their ‘Return to School Plan.’
For those interested in signing up for daycare, you can get a hold of Anderson on her Facebook page.