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Buena Vista school board votes on mask mandate

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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BUENA VISTA, Va. (WDBJ) - When parents and students went in for school supplies at the Ramsey Center Friday, some wore masks, and some didn’t.

By the following Monday, the room was set for a special meeting of the school board, every seat in the audience socially distanced. The plan was to vote on whether all students will have to wear masks in school.

“Tonight, we’re going to be looking at an updated version of our school opening plan,” said school Superintendent Tony Francis, “and obviously that incorporates Senate Bill 1303 and the recent mandate form the Virginia Department of Health.”

For those on the school’s staff, it’s a decision you could say Richmond has made for them.

“Obviously the board will have the final say,” Francis said, “but the situation with the governor making the mandate with the Virginia Department of Health really took all of the, I guess the wiggle room a lot of people felt they may have, away.”

“To make our kids go through that theater, I think that they’re being really put through right now, that all of us are being put through, a lot of us,” said parent Chelsea Whetstone, “and making them just act like they’re trying to do what’s right just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Whetstone decided to take her kids out and homeschool them.

“With the governor’s mandate, that made my choice,” she said, “because I’d already decided that I would not send them if they had to wear masks.”

And she feels she’s far from alone.

“Majority of the parents I’ve talked to thinks it’s ridiculous that our kids are being made to wear these useless masks on their faces,” Whetstone said, “these small children who are developing psychologically and they’re really losing a lot in their psychological development.”

The mask vote was the only item on the board’s agenda.

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