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Tension Around Mask Mandates Palpable As Kids Head Back To School

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) -- This year's back-to-school excitement has some tension mixed in. Tens of thousands of students in the Baltimore area will be going back to school in the next week.

Some districts are requiring all students to wear masks, but there is one district in our region where mask-wearing will be optional.

Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County,  Anne Arundel County and Harford County will require masks in schools. Masks will be optional in Carroll County.

Many parents have very different views on if masks should be required for kids.

"I'm perfectly fine with it, as long as they can go back to school I'm happy," says Sarah Holloway, a mother in Anne Arundel County.

Another man told WJZ, "For the parents that don't want their kids to wear the mask, I think it should be their choice."

During a recent school board meeting in Anne Arundel County, a lady said a mask would hurt her son because reading lips helps his speech therapy.

"We are the parents," she told board members. "We can make choices for our kids as we have done since the day they were born. It's my kid, my choice."

Some parents who are against a mask mandate protested during a school board meeting in Harford County last week. Some were asked to leave the room.

Julie Hummer is a former school board member in Anne Arundel County. Hummer has watched other districts around the country start then stop because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

"To me, this should not be a very hard decision. Number one priority for school board members is the health and safety of children, and every reputable medical organization and group has recommended that students wear masks to school," says Hummer.

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