Parents Divided Over PLCS Mask Requirement

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PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) – Papillion La Vista Community Schools have seen an impressive number of cases of COVID-19 in its first three weeks of the school year.

One hundred and five cases were reported in the district on August 27, and three days later the district decided it could no longer offer education without the need for a mask.

Now barely a month with this requirement on September 27, cases have dropped to just 18 active cases across the district according to the online tracker.

“Our positive cases tend to go down, so we’re very happy to see that,” Deputy Superintendent Dr. Kattie Settles said.

She said the district should stay on the same path it currently is for keeping children in school.

Some parents, like Sarah Lara-Toney, say these decisions made by the council and the district have kept their children in school.

“I don’t know how many times you hear yourself thanking yourself for the measures you have taken, but seeing these reports and seeing the numbers go down, I know my husband and I are deeply grateful,” said Lara-Toney.

Others say these decisions are the very reason their child is not in school. Regina Foutch says the experience of wearing a mask was very upsetting for her daughter last year.

“I decided to teach my child at home because the masks traumatize her,” Foutch said. “Even though she doesn’t have to wear a mask – the people around her – she thinks the air is harmful.”

Others like Brittant Hotlmeyer go so far as to question the integrity of the board of directors in these decisions.

“I just wonder what’s the end of the game to all of this,” Hotlmeyer said. “And how much your paychecks have gone up.”

A board member replied that it was not a paid position.

The board and district say they will continue to work with the local health department to monitor cases in the district and county, but for now, the mask requirement remains in place.

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