SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Mask debates loom large in the Midstate as kids prepare to head back to school.
In several local districts, the fight over mask mandates have been ongoing. The Shippensburg Area School District is one of the places where it’s been a major point of discussion.
The school board recently decided to make masks mandatory. Some parents, like Stephanie Eberly, are not happy with that decision. “It should be a personal choice,” Eberly said.
She feels the board has been inconsistent and unclear with its stance on masks. “It enflames the community. 10 days before school. They created this chaos,” Eberly said.
Get daily news, weather, and breaking news all to your inbox! Sign up for abc27 newsletters here!
Superintendent Dr. Chris Suppo says the district is trying to adapt with the pandemic and just do what they think is best for students.”We really truly are concerned about student and staff safety and we want to have a normal program where students are able to be in school without virtual learning,” Suppo said.
The Eberlys plan to keep fighting for a choice.
“I believe that masks protect those who are immune-compromised or who have a weakened immune system,” Eberly said. “But to force a family who eats their fruits and vegetables, their whole grains, they exercise to wear a mask? I’m not a fan of that. I don’t support it.”
Everyone agrees that the mask debate has been a distraction. However, despite the chaos Stephanie’s daughter Olivia is excited to get back to school. “I just want to go back to school, and just have fun with it,” Olivia Eberly said.
She hasn’t decided yet if she’ll be following the masking rule.
“I just don’t want to be sent home and not know where I’m going to go the next day, not know what I’m going to do. I kind of just want to see what’s going to play out in the classroom, whether there are going to be mask breaks,” Olivia Eberly said.
Dr. Suppo says anyone who doesn’t follow the policy will get a warning. But if they refuse to put a mask on, their parents will have to come pick them up from school.
“I don’t think that anyone really wants to. But if that’s a small price to pay to be able to have some normalcy, to be able to hopefully put in some slight mitigation efforts that are going to help us have continuity in our programs and maintain kids here in school, I think it’s worth it,” Suppo said.
Stephanie Eberly has been so frustrated with how the school board has handled the pandemic that now she’s planning to run for the school board herself.