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Chesapeake parents, teachers express appreciation, frustration on optional masks in classroom

Posted at 11:36 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 23:43:03-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - At the Chesapeake School Board meeting Monday night, parents and teachers were very passionate about the optional masks in classrooms. A few thanked the school board for their decision.

"[Virginia Gov. Glenn] Youngkin made the right decision to listen to parents, and so did you," one Chesapeake parent said.

"By not mandating masks, we are opening up the City of Chesapeake for liability of any child who gets sick with COVID and employee and their families," another parent said.

"I’d like to thank you for voting to make masks optional for our students and recognizing the importance for parental choice," another parent told school board members.

"Your decision on January 20 was a political decision and not based on data," another parents told school board members.

More than 30 speakers, including parents and teachers, spoke at school board meeting regarding optional masks for students. This comes after the school board voted last week 7-1 to make masks optional for students, allowing parents to choose if they want to put masks on their children.

"I think the governor said it best: It’s a parental choice issue," Harry Murphy, the Chesapeake board chairman, said.

A long year in the pandemic has some teachers feeling overwhelmed.

"Three days ago, I submitted my two-week notice to end my employment with Chesapeake Public Schools. Why? Because the system you have created is broken," a Chesapeake teacher said.

"Please listen to your teachers," a retired Chesapeake teacher said.

The Chesapeake Education Association also voiced its concern after submitting a “no confidence” vote, saying they have a lack of confidence of the school board to lead ethically and equitably.

"It is time for change in the City of Chesapeake that we include educators in the decisions that we make and every policy that affects our students and educators," said Reagan Davis, a teacher and the president of the Chesapeake Education Association.

Related: Students caught in middle of polarizing mask debate

Teachers with the Chesapeake Education Association say they will be protesting the board’s decision.

"We plan on wearing black for at least the entire week to show we have members that are standing in solidarity for supporting our students and our employees health and safety," Davis said.

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