They were only given three minutes to say what they wanted to say, but it was the first time the public got to weigh in on the school mask mandate and parents had a lot to say.
“I see the change in mood and energy level that happens when a mask goes on a child,” Tiffany McCauley said.
McCauley is the mother of five and a teacher.
“At this point, I think we have to ask are we doing more harm than good for children and their future,” McCauley said.
She says it’s time for parents to decide.
“Allowing state agencies to guide local policy based on fluctuating case numbers and vaccination percentages is not helpful at all. We either know what’s best for our children's health or we don't,” Elizabeth Patterson said.
Patterson says the decision should be left up to parents.
“My rights as a parent should not change district to district,” Patterson said.
Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont said the decision to mask should be left up to local school boards. But it’s unclear what metrics the districts would use to make that decision.
"The lower the number of cases in a district overall and as our curves come way down compared to where they’ve been and the higher the vaccination rate – no discrete number I can give you. The better protected your community is overall,” Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani says.
Most parents who testified Tuesday opposed any mask mandate.
“I’m asking you to give parents back control and give individuals choice for mask mandates,” Michele McPadden said.
McPadden is a mother of four.
“The kids in the school system have essentially lost a year or more academically. They have suffered immeasurable consequences from not being able to interact and socialize with their friends,” McPadden said.
At least one felt masks are necessary.
“Masks are needed to mitigate risks,” Tina Manus said. “Being good boys and girls as the governor suggests doesn’t win us privileges against a virus.”
Lawmakers in the House will weigh in on the matter later this week.