School districts across the US consider whether masks should be required

Some school districts decide to make mask wearing optional

School districts across the country are debating if they should require masks this school year. Read more:

DETROIT – Parents, students and educators around the country are weighing in on whether masks should be worn at the beginning of the school year.

“We must believe in the science that shows mask wearing reduces the spread of COVID which will in turn keep our children in school,” said one woman speaking at a school board meeting in Indiana.

Many school board meetings were held across the country Monday night over the topic.

“We’re not seeing the numbers rise where there is no mask mandate and we’re seeing the numbers rise where there is a mask mandate,” said one American man speaking at a school board meeting.

All across the nation conversations got heated.

“You guys have stripped my kid of a whole year of school already,” said one man speaking in Wisconsin.

The same conversations, a mix of angst, anger and misinformation.

“Did you know the masks you hand out to children have toxins in them,” said another woman addressing school officials.

Tim McAvoy is with Utica Community Schools which has fended off a few angry public comment sessions from its own meetings including one Monday night.

“We recognize this is an emotional issue and we people are in different spaces, but for us it’s about moving forward,” said McAvoy.

So far this district of 26,000 students will be starting school with a mask option, though recommended.

Read: Health officials raise concerns about spread of COVID as students return to the classroom

Related: Widow concerned Plymouth-Canton Community Schools mask policy will put lives in danger

Utica Community Schools continues to work with the Macomb County Health Department. School is beginning for the district Aug. 31.

“What I would say to parents is think about everything we’ve been through. We are resilient. Like every school year it represents a new beginning and we have a lot to look forward to,” said McAvoy.

Read more: Education headlines from around Michigan

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 913,220 as of Monday, including 19,958 deaths, state officials report.

Monday’s update includes a total of 2,720 new cases and seven additional deaths over the past three days -- an average of 906.67 cases per day. On Friday, the state announced a total of 910,500 cases and 19,951 deaths.

Details: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 913,220; Death toll now at 19,958

COVID case and testing data will be posted three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.