PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – In August, Peoria Public School students and staff will return to the classroom, and they will do so while wearing masks. But, parents are sharing mixed reactions to the decision.
**Both parents for this story were interviewed prior to the CDC confirming changes to its recommendations for K-12 masking.
Monday night, Peoria Public Schools announced all students and faculty will be required to wear a face-covering to start the school year.
“We had solid guidelines from the CDC, IDPH, our local health department, and also our committee and our board,” said Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Peoria Public Schools superintendent.
On Monday, the Peoria County Health Department reported 116 new COVID cases over the last seven days. This number more than doubles the total from the previous week.
“With COVID numbers where they are, it was in the best interest to implement universal masking for everyone,” Dr. Kherat said.
But not everyone agreed with the superintendent.
A Peoria Central High School parent said her daughter has been vaccinated, and feels students who have should be able to drop the mask.
“I think it’s unfair. I think they should put their foot down, require every student to be vaccinated and if you don’t, then you have to wear a mask,” said Towanna Wyatt.
There are also others who say they think the district got the decision right.
“My kids are not protected against this virus yet and actually none of the kids at their school are because they’re not old enough to be. So it’s really concerning that other schools choose not to mask the students and faculty,” said Roshi Connor, a parent at Kellar Primary School.
Dr. Kherat says if Peoria County vaccination percentages climb, it may help PPS return to more normalcy.
“I would love to see it in the 60s, and if so, I believe we will continue to re-evaluate as time goes on,” Kherat said.
PPS will also continue to promote vaccinations sites, social distancing and disinfection cleaning will also be in place.