Parents protest Cobb County school meeting over mask-wearing

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Even as the school year comes to a close, the debate over mask wearing is heating up.

School leaders in the Cobb and Marietta school districts are standing by their decision to relax mask mandates.

The school systems made the decision following the CDC’s guidance last week.

That move excludes children under the age of 12, but dozens of parents call it psychological warfare.

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District leaders are now getting an earful from parents about the future of school as they meet for their regularly scheduled board meeting.

A group of parents is demanding no masks for all kids, but the president of the teacher’s association disagrees.

“I worry that they’re not going to feel safe. Again. In a classroom,” said Connie Jackson, president of the Cobb County Association of Educators.

She’s speaking up for teachers because the district has warned them not to talk to Channel 2 Action News without approval.

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“Requiring masks is one way we can prevent outbreaks until the majority of people are fully vaccinated,” Jackson said.

At Cobb County School District headquarters Thursday afternoon, Channel 2′s Chris Jose found a line of parents waiting to address the board.

“I mean at this point, I just feel like it’s criminal,” parent Caryn Sonderman said.

Masks are optional for fully vaccinated people at Cobb County Schools.

“It’s like psychological warfare at this point. When you have adults outside enjoying the fresh air, and they’re watching kids run with masks on,” Sonderman said.

Those age 12 and older are eligible for the vaccine but younger children are not.

Despite the CDC’s latest recommendation to keep COVID-19 mitigation efforts in place, district leaders are sticking with their decision to close out the year.

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Parents are anxious to find out what district leaders will do about the fall.

“I personally hope that we can go back to school like it’s 2019. I don’t know if that’s very realistic,” said parent Heather Tolley-Bauer.

Not everyone agrees.

“We should have the choice to unmask our children. I’ve been a speech pathologist for 28 years. This is disrupting our children’s ability to focus,” parent Amy Buchanan said.

Masks were not on the agenda Thursday, but the district has said they fully expect to start next school year with optional mask wearing.