CLINTON – The Sampson County School Board has ruled that the polite denial of a community that feels that wearing optional masks is not in the best interests of students or staff and that their execution of the decision was unfair. Sentiments regarding the board’s decision last week were expressed at a meeting on Monday evening.
At Monday night’s board meeting, many people spoke out and said they believed they should reinstate masks in classrooms, reiterating that principals and staff wanted the masks in the classroom. the classrooms. They also said they felt that the board of directors voting in a working session instead of a general assembly was insufficient to allow for public comment.
Luther Moore said he had spent over 38 years in Clinton City and Sampson County schools, and brought a letter from the Sampson County branch of the NAACP.
“We believe that deciding on this issue, during a working session, has not given parents and the general public an adequate opportunity to give their opinion on such a critical issue,” said Moore.
Moore said that nationally, the NAACP encourages students to wear masks and encourages school boards to take the right steps “to protect students, teachers, administrators and all school staff.”
Elaine Hunt said she has had around 22 people she knows who have died from complications from COVID.
“Those who are still alive will tell you to take this pandemic seriously,” she said.
Hunt said she came to the board without understanding why the health of students and staff had been put on the back burner.
“If the directors have expressed their wish that the mask mandate remains, then why are you choosing to go against these directors and the vast majority of the staff?
Hunt stressed that she feels they have a selfish political agenda on this issue.
“Believe me, it’s not about you or you or you,” she said, pointing to the board. “These are the people locked in these buildings, the students and the staff.
Moore said they fully support reasonable safety measures to mitigate the effects of COVID.
“We totally agree with scientists and healthcare professionals… that masks are safe, inexpensive, and the simplest strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools,” Moore said .
Reverend Jimmy Melvin appeared before the board not of a particular group, he said, but as a pastor in the community.
“We’ve had a lot of hand in dealing with the grief… of COVID-19,” he said.
Sampson County Schools Substitute Darlene Bronson agreed with some of the other people who came before her. Small classrooms and crowded classrooms were two concerns raised by Darlene Bronson.
Bronson works in the classrooms as a substitute for Sampson County schools.
“My feeling is that we should keep the obligation to wear masks in school classrooms, because some classrooms are smaller than what they should be or what they should be. And in some classes there are more students than there should be.
Shaniqua Bowden has shared her concerns about her family.
“I had a list of things I wanted to say,” she said. “But I’m just coming to you as a human being.”
She said she was both a mother and a healthcare worker and had seen what COVID could do and had lost family and friends.
“I feel like the mask’s mandate has to stay in place,” she said.
“My parents have weakened immune systems and immune diseases occur on their own,” Bowden said.
She cited the CDC guidelines and felt that they should continue those guidelines.
“With everyone breathing on everyone, this is when the sniffles are going to happen,” said Bronson. “You don’t know who has what.”
Chad Stall shared some information on the county’s performance in the fight against COVID. He said that no children had died in the county and that he supported the changes that had been made.
During the last working session, which took place at 7:30 a.m. on October 19, the council voted 4 to 3 in favor of the option of masks in the classroom. No public comment time was provided during the working session, forcing those involved to wait for the next board to comment on a decision already made.
The school board also voted to make November 12 a wellness day and that schools will be closed from Thursday until they reopen on Monday, with schools already closed on November 11 for Veterans Day. .
Contact Emily M. Williams at 910-590-9488. Follow her on Twitter at @NCNewsWriter. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.