BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As summer break quickly comes to an end students will be hitting the books physically in the classroom. This comes after spending most of last year learning at a distance, but with this came some debate at Monday's Kern High School board meeting.
The controversy is behind mask-wearing when students return to full in-person instruction later this month. While some say they are for this for health reasons others say it will cause issues for students.
“What are you teaching our kids with your mask on? Fear. You're teaching them fear. With something that has a small chance of taking them out,” said a Bakersfield resident during public comment.
For Kern High School District, masks will be required for all students indoors; angering some parents and community members Monday night.
“Based on the data I would suggest you implement a mask choice policy for this school district. This should be a decision between parents and children's doctor. That way they can decide if the solution is worse than the danger,” said a Bakersfield resident during public comment.
Parents asked KHSD board members for local control when it comes to dropping the mask.
“We are different from San Francisco we are different from LA. We are different from any other community. We are our own community and need local control.”
Others fear this decision would put lives at risk.
“This delta variant is very serious. My mother is at high risk. My sister is at high risk. She is currently a senior at Centennial High School. And this needs to be taken care of. Not in a few weeks when it's getting worse. Not in a few months when people are dying. It needs to be done now,” said a KHSD mother during public comment.
A heated debate sparked within the board room.
“It's very disturbing to me that we're gonna be having our students following certain rules that are going to be enforced for the health of the greater community and there's a lot of people in here not wearing the mask,” said a Bakersfield resident during public comment.
School officials also chimed in Monday night going over safety precautions and guidelines going forward As it pertains to Covid-19. They will have sanitation and voluntary testing protocols in place as well as quarantine guidance where anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will need to isolate for at least 10 days.
“Vaccinated students who are not displaying symptoms do not need to quarantine if exposed to Covid-19. Vaccinated students who are in close contact can continue to participate in school and in activities,” said a KHSD official
Unvaccinated students may attend class when exposed to the virus if they are not displaying symptoms, continue masking, and test twice a week during the quarantine period.
For those whose health would be at risk by attending in-person instruction, there will be a virtual independent studies option.