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Parents in Orange County protest against mask requirement at schools

By Alex Cheney

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    TUSTIN, California (KABC) — Some parents in Orange County are pushing back against the mask mandate when kids head back to school in the fall.

Hundreds showed up to protest the mandate before the Tustin Unified School District board meeting on Monday evening.

Face masks are not required in outdoor school settings, but will need to be worn by students, teachers and other staff inside classrooms, regardless of vaccination status.

Parents want the choice of sending their children to school wearing a mask or not, saying wearing them affects their ability to learn.

They also said evidence shows children are at very low risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 or even transmitting it to others.

“We like to see kids’ smiles, the teachers do and it was a bizarre year last year with kids in muzzles and not able to breath,” said parent Amber Ahlrimg.

Masks weren’t on the school board’s agenda Monday, but during public comment, many parents let board members know why they think the mask mandate is wrong.

“You have announced you will continue this draconian practice, a demonstration of your disgusting thirst for power,” said one parent.

“I cannot stand to see her masked,” added parent Denise Ramirez. “She doesn’t want to be masked and neither do my boys.”

Earlier this month, California said it would continue to require that masks be worn in school settings, despite guidance from the CDC that vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear them inside school buildings.

“In places where we don’t have the ability to have distancing as one of the other mitigating strategies… masking is the superior form of mitigation,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “So starting off our school year with kids masked, coming back safely with 100% of our students able to come in person, was the key strategy.”

The mask requirement for indoor school settings “also will ensure that all kids are treated the same,” according to a press release from the state Department of Public Health.

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