TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Late last week, Governor Tate Reeves lifted all mask mandates in Mississippi, except for students in public schools.
Now, a group of parents says it should be their decision whether or not their children have to wear face masks in class.
Retired Firefighter David Riley doesn’t believe his grandchildren should be required to wear a mask in public schools. The Saltillo gym owner says he is worried about the impact the governor’s mask mandate has on students, despite some health officials who say children have the ability to give COVID-19 to other people in their homes.
“If you think about children, they’re very resilient when it comes to surviving sicknesses and illnesses, and things like that, seemed to me they were targeting the wrong group, seemed to me like they were targeting the wrong group,” Riley said.
Riley is part of a newly formed group called “Parents For Mask Choice.” The group started on Facebook last week with thirty members and has now grown to nearly 3000 statewide. Megan Johnson is a parent with children in the Tupelo Public School District. She says the group believes parents should have the final say in whether their kids have to mask up in class.
“Our kids have been masking all year long and numbers have significantly decreased, and there’s not enough evidence for mandatory masking at this point when the rest of the state is wide open, we as a group are not willing to sit quietly and let our children carry a burden that’s not theirs to bear,” Johnson said.
On the same day the governor signed his latest executive order, State Health Officer Doctor Thomas Dobbs, during a Zoom update with the Mississippi State Medical Association, was asked how much longer students might have to wear masks in the classroom.
“Kids can’t get vaccinated, that’s a definite, right? So you still have kids who could have outbreaks and wreck our school, kids being in school if our goal is to keep kids in school. and that’s one of our tools, a little bit of space and a comfortable mask, we need to do it, for now, I would say, let’s plan on next Fall, kids not wearing masks to school,” Dr. Dobbs said.
Missy Wilson says her kids have been affected by the masks.
“My children have always loved school and when they come home and they’re sweating and they maybe have a headache,” Wilson said.
We reached out to Lee County Schools for reaction and were told that the school district will continue to follow the governor’s latest executive order, which is in effect until the end of this school year. In the meantime, Parents for Mask Choice say they are considering petitioning the governor and local school boards about the issue.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children 16-years and older.
Neither Reeves nor Doctor Dobbs has said whether they will push for mandatory Covid 19 vaccines for school-age children in Mississippi, once the shots become available.