mask mandate

Parents Debate Masking Inside Waterbury Public Schools

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There is a growing debate in Waterbury among parents calling on the district to change their decision on mask inside schools.

On Thursday afternoon, parents in favor of removing the mask mandate inside Waterbury schools gathered to call for the district to make changes.

Demonstrators protesting the mask mandate inside Waterbury Public Schools on Tuesday afternoon in front of city hall.

Chants of "Unmask Our Kids" were loud in front of Waterbury City Hall on Tuesday afternoon. The demonstration falls on the heels of the statewide mask mandate inside schools ending on Monday.

Lygia Rinaldi is a mother of three children and believes masking should be left up to parents, not the school district.

"It shouldn't be mandatory anymore, I think they should've been dropped a long time ago," said Rinaldi. "I don't think they're needed and that's my opinion and I respect the opinions and so it should be an option.

Waterbury, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford Public Schools are some of the school districts that are choosing to keep mask-wearing inside schools mandatory for now.

Waterbury Public Schools is basing their mask decision on a few metrics including vaccine prevalence and rates of positivity within the city. As of February 17, the district says those requirements have yet to met leading to the decision to keep masks in schools.

Pedro Matos is all for keeping masks inside schools for a little longer and believes the district is making the right decision.

"I think they should be masked, I mean COVID is horrible and people have died," said Matos. "If the option is there then that's on the parents. I think what's going to happen is some parents are going to complain because one of their kids is going to get COVID and they were the one calling for an end to mask in schools."

Jose Sabo has two elementary school-aged kids and he believes the face coverings offer some benefits right now and in the future should there be another wave of COVID-19.

"I think it's a bad idea if they remove the masks from inside schools," said Sabo. "It's the best way to protect them and we know that cases can increase and once they do, they don't stop."

NBC Connecticut reached out to Waterbury Public Schools and they did not offer a response to the Tuesday afternoon rally. The district did mention that there will be a meeting on Thursday where school leaders will discuss masks in schools.

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