WOODSTOCK – College students, dad and mom and neighborhood members spoke at a 3 1/2-hour Shenandoah County Faculty Board assembly on Thursday night time in opposition to the masks mandate for all colleges, which was ordered by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam earlier within the day.
There have been 43 audio system on Thursday night time both in-person or just about and most of them spoke about masks being required in county colleges. The board room was crammed to capability and extra folks protested outdoors the constructing.
Of all of the audio system, it might have been Central Excessive Faculty scholar Jordan Shoemaker who garnered essentially the most applause from the boisterous crowd.
“I’ve an autistic little brother, 6 years outdated, non-verbal,” Jordan mentioned. “He comes dwelling sweating and (he’s out of breath) on a regular basis. He can’t breathe in these masks. He’s mainly not allowed to do something. If I may hear him I might assist him. However it’s going to hit me the toughest, as a result of on daily basis once I see him once I get dwelling his face is purple, he’s sweating, he’s panting and he simply wants like a drink or one thing. So that you give him a drink – it doesn’t assist. It’s these masks.
“…If my little brother has to maintain on going like that, it’s going to only tear me aside. And I can’t see him like that anymore.”
Harley Robertson, a scholar at Central, mentioned she suffers from anxiousness and bronchial asthma, which make it tough for her to put on the masks all day.
“With my anxiousness and bronchial asthma, once I placed on a masks I really feel like I’m drowning and I can’t breathe,” Harley mentioned. “Please give us a selection and save us from drowning.”
Harley’s mom, Crystal Robertson, mentioned that she worries continually by the day that her daughter could have a panic assault or an bronchial asthma assault carrying the masks at college.
Sarah Morey mentioned her son goes to Central and he additionally has anxiousness and he or she worries about what carrying a masks is doing to him. She mentioned the children are hurting.
“I simply know we are able to’t hold hurting our youngsters,” Morey mentioned. “And any individual’s acquired to face up and say you can’t hurt our kids. In Shenandoah County we don’t let folks hurt our kids.”
Future Ogle, a sophomore at Central, is a part of a bunch of scholars who’ve been protesting at Central all week.
Future spoke on the assembly and mentioned they simply need a selection.
“Do you want masks?,” Future requested. “Are you able to hear when folks discuss to you when you’ve them on? Are you able to breathe with them on, as a result of I do know I can’t. Masks are government-controlled. As a lot as you guys wish to hold us protected, you guys are additionally hurting us.
“…We’re not asking for one thing so large, we’re asking for choices. We’re asking for a selection, a option to make masks elective. In the event you want to put on masks it’s 100% on you. We’ve got stood within the rain and stored ourselves from college. If you would like change, it’s a must to be the change and proper right here’s the place it begins.”
Shenandoah County Public Colleges Superintendent Melody Sheppard mentioned they’re permitting college students at Central to protest outdoors the constructing every day.
“They proceed to protest and we’re monitoring them from afar,” Sheppard mentioned after Thursday’s assembly. “We’re giving them a protected place for them to proceed to protest. So long as it’s nice and everyone is getting alongside then we’re prepared to allow them to do it.”
Sheppard mentioned they’re getting their college work, both somebody brings it out to them or they go and get it on the workplace on the finish of every day.
She mentioned there might come a time after they ask them to maneuver alongside they usually know it will be greatest in the event that they have been inside the college as an alternative of outdoor.
“We want to have them come again in-person as a result of we all know that’s invaluable to them,” Sheppard mentioned.
A few of Thursday’s audio system requested the Faculty Board to think about going again to the hybrid mannequin they have been in final yr so college students and fogeys would have a selection of going just about.
“Digital studying was good for my youngsters,” Patricia Lopez mentioned. “You may have a look at their college information. They have been all A-B honor roll their freshman yr of highschool, why? Due to digital studying. I do know not everyone likes it – I get that. For me, I prefer it.
Whereas most everybody was in opposition to the masks mandate there have been a number of in favor of it.
Invoice Scott mentioned the regulation is there to guard everybody.
“This isn’t about private expression, that is about duty,” Scott mentioned. “We’ve got velocity limits on the freeway for public security. We’ve got legal guidelines in opposition to driving below the affect. And we’ve got legal guidelines in opposition to splattering folks with bullets from a gun and splattering folks with unseen viruses is each bit as harmful.
“…I believe we have to take this critically. This isn’t about human rights any greater than the velocity limits and DUI legal guidelines. It’s momentary and a few folks don’t appear to get this. This isn’t the federal government making an attempt to manage you or me, however the authorities making an attempt to manage and handle a pandemic.”
A number of audio system urged the board to go in opposition to the mandate and take it to court docket if obligatory.
“You all have an choice,” Mike Rickard mentioned. “All of us have your again. You guys can stand as much as the governor. … Simply use your frequent sense. Arise, we acquired your again. We voted you in, we’ll vote you again in. However get up for the folks. If that little boy (Jordan Shoemaker) can come up right here and advocate for his 6-year-old brother that’s autistic, you guys can get up for the remainder of the county.”
In her closing feedback on the finish of the assembly, Faculty Board member Michelle Manning requested the neighborhood to not surrender on them.
“I believe it’s necessary for the neighborhood to know that there was a lot occurring behind the scenes,” Manning mentioned. “The truth that we opened colleges with masks strongly really helpful ought to ship a message to everybody that we’re not simply falling in lock step with no matter comes down from Richmond. We truly have been actually grateful for the chance to make use of our native information and tailor what we wished to do with that. I’m not going to lie I’m a bit disheartened that that was taken away from us.”