GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – Parents with students enrolled in the Grosse Pointe Public School System are concerned about the district’s lack of a mask mandate for the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
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The concerned parents said all they want is for the school district to keep their children safe following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about mask use, but they claim their voices have been ignored.
Read: Dr. Joneigh Khaldun: Optional school mask policies not consistent with CDC recommendations
“I think we feel very disappointed,” said librarian Elizabeth Campion.
Parents are fearful, frustrated and angry over the Grosse Pointe Public School System’s decision to not require masks when school resumes in the fall.
“I think it’s negligent. They have a duty to protect our kids and they are very intelligent adults, they’ve seen all the outcomes we’ve seen over the past year,” said social worker Sarah Eisenberg. “They know these things work. They know they’re safe.”
The parents are a part of a Facebook group that had hundreds of members meeting for the first time to express their worries.
“What’s actually important to our district? Is it more important that we make this small but vocal minority happy or is about keeping our kids safe enough to learn something?” asked teacher Harry Campion.
“To see a school district tasked with educating our children, tasked with teaching them about science, just go completely against the scientific method, that these experts are wrong,” said Melissa Maye. “It’s telling them that education doesn’t really matter.”
The district superintendent cited hyperlocal numbers he put together in a dashboard online that hasn’t been updated in more than two months.
“We’re very fortunate, like Rose Point area over 85% of our faculty are vaccinated. Over 80% of our vaccine eligible community is vaccinated. In our daily COVID rates -- I get those for each of our municipalities -- are still very low,” said superintendent Dr. Jon Dean. “We are continuing to watch them, but our local COVID data is positive at this point.”
“Our kids, our parents are traveling outside of the Grosse Pointes, so having a dashboard that really just looks at certain CDC indicators is a little short sighted,” said Dr. Stephen Warnick Jr. “It’s more than short sighted. It’s irresponsible.”
But for the parents, it’s also about more than masks.
“We’re teaching them something that honestly just breaks my heart, that we don’t have responsibility to care for and about one another,” Eisenberg said.
It’s a lesson they said they don’t want taught in their schools.
The group plans to protest Monday night when the school board meets.
Related: Michigan releases COVID guidance for upcoming school year, urges universal masking