Parents Express Concerns With School Mask Mandates During Town Hall 

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KIANTONE – Parents and teachers expressed concerns with New York State’s COVID-19 mandates in local schools during a town hall meeting in Kiantone on Thursday night.

Many of the concerns from parents come from their kids missing a lot of school due to the aggressive quarantining requirements. Most schools did not have remote learning because they went back to full in person instruction this fall.

One parent in particular, Jamestown resident Kelly Smart, fears for her kindergartener and second grader’s mental health.

“Like they’re getting stomach aches in the morning and they’re like, why do we have to wear these masks?” says Smart. “Like they don’t understand. They can’t even pull it below their nose or their teacher has to be a tyrant, and say, put it over your nose, put it over your nose, when they can’t, when they’re in gym class they have to wear it.”

A group of educators also spoke out, warning that area teachers are tired of the edicts.

“Just making it super clear cuz, I’m married to one and I’m so proud of him because he loves his job but he’s gonna stand up 100 percent, and my question is, what is the state’s plan on October 14 is the latest date I’ve heard that we’re gonna be required to swab ourselves,” says one of the unnamed educators. “That’s what you’re paying, that’s where the tax dollars are going to. Pull your kids out.”

The educators are concerned that the mask mandate could unfold into something more, like a vaccine mandate. For them, that is where they will draw the line.

“I’m an educator and I, a part of me, feels guilty. Next week, I’m gonna be asked to test and I’m not doing it,” says one of the unnamed educators. “Part of me feels very guilty because the health care workers in this area are just asking to be tested. But my thing is I can’t give in to testing because where is it going to end?”

New York State Senator George Borrello, who hosted the event, believes that New York State was not prepared properly this fall and that is why there are so many issues in schools.

He is among others statewide who are suing the state health department.

“The basis of my lawsuit that they did not follow their own rules when they instituted these mandates. So what we’re doing is pushing back against that. We do have to be concerned. We have a constitutional obligation. The New York State Constitution states that they have to have responsibility.” says Borrello. “The state government is responsible for the education of those children. The fact that they’re not getting educated is a violation of the New York City concept.”


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