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Central Bucks School District Students Return To Class As Some Parents Left Uneasy Over Lack Of Mask Mandate

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- Students in Bucks County returned to their classrooms on Monday.

"You know what, we made the best of it," Amy Sharp, a parent, said. "We did what we could."

But now it's goodbye as students go back to class. Monday marked the first day of class for students in the Central Bucks School District. Parents were spotted hugging their kids while dropping them off at Kutz Elementary School in Doylestown.

For many students, this is the first time they've all been in a classroom together since March of 2020 when the pandemic hit.

"It's been difficult," Sharp said. "Especially as a full-time working parent."

Masks are optional for students here in Central Bucks and it sparked a fiery debate amongst parents.

"I think we have to take care of each other right now and I've heard from doctor friends that pediatric beds are at capacity, so this is scary," Sheila Rai, a supporter of masks, said. "Even if our kids get sick with something different, they're not getting the care they need. So, we need to take this seriously."

"I think statistically, children don't get sick from it," Donna Wright said. "I've been following statistics and I work with children and I don't see them get sick."

The Central Bucks School Board held an emergency meeting last week to discuss the mask debate. Parents showed up in droves and the meeting was at capacity.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wold has not mandated students and teachers wear masks. Voters limited his powers in the last election cycle.

Instead, he's encouraging all students to wear masks but now the decision has been left up to the individual school districts.

"Twenty, 30 kids in a room, no masks. That just doesn't seem right, especially with breakthrough infections amongst the vaccinated population," Nnambi Aduba, a supporter of masks, said. "It's hard to justify not wearing a mask inside."

Elsewhere in Bucks County, masks are optional in Bensalem and Pennridge, Council Rock, and The Quakertown Community School Districts. However, they are required in Pennsbury, Bristol Township, New Hope Solebury, and in Neshaminy Elementary schools.

"My kids will wear masks, but again, it's optional," Sharp said. "They're perfectly fine with doing so and as a parent, I prefer them to."

The governors of New Jersey and Delaware both required masks to be worn there.

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