Masks in schools hot button issue at school board meetings on Long Island

WEST ISLIP, Long Island (WABC) -- Parents who feel strongly about masks possibly being required in schools this fall are making their sentiments known at school board meetings across Long Island.

Claudia Worley, of West Islip, is one of them.

Worley said it should be up to the parent to decide whether his or her child wears a mask to school.

"Whatever you do decide to do, it should be your decision to make for your child," Worley said. "It should not be coming from your school board, not coming from the local government, the higher government."

Worley said she does not want her daughter, who is going into kindergarten, to wear a mask this fall.

"I want her to be able to see her friends' faces, learn facial expressions," she said.

Worley and dozens of other parents plan to speak on the mask issue at a school board meeting Thursday night in West Islip.

Masks in schools were the big topic of discussion at the Bethpage School Board meeting Tuesday night and at the Levittown School Board meeting Wednesday night.

A woman in Levittown told the school board, "Scientifically, requiring masks to be worn inside makes sense right now."

Jim Burnett, of West Islip, said he does not want his children, who are going into 5th and 3rd grades, to wear masks this fall.

"I think that this is about fear and control," Burnett said. "We don't want to live in that."

Burnett said if his children are forced to wear masks to school, he may consider moving out of New York.

"I don't want my kids to grow up this way," he said.

Late Thursday afternoon, the New York State Education Department put out its Health and Safety Guide for the school year. The guidance only refers back to the CDC guidance.

The CDC is advising that everyone in school buildings this fall should be required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

ALSO READ | Kathy Hochul says mask mandates in NY schools are likely
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The incoming New York governor stressed that she plans to work with school district officials as well as parents and teachers on the issue of mask requirements.

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