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Some Harris Co. parents upset about new mask policy

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 8:04 PM EDT
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HAMILTON, Ga. (WTVM) - With safety the main priority, Harris County school officials say it was absolutely necessary to change their mask policy.

For one mother, that change is why she’s ready to withdraw her child from school. Before the school year started in Harris County, Erica Dominick says she had plans to homeschool her four year old son.

“But he has begged me to go to big school and the only reason I sent him to big school this year - he’s in pre-K is because masks were optional and not forced,” said Dominick.

With over 400 students in the district now quarantined, Harris County officials changed that policy. Now, all pre-K through 12th grade students, faculty and staff must wear masks on campus.

“My plans are to fight this or withdraw him if they don’t change the policy,” said Dominick.

While Dominick, like many other parents, met in Hamilton Saturday and Sunday to discuss their frustrations about the rule being changed, other parents are all for it.

“Oh I’m all for it. There’s no question about it. My main concern right now are the children having to go to school of course being, you know, protected.” said Harris County parent, Judy Lebish.

Echoing that same message is Harris County Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Shelia Baker.

“Our top two priority is to one, keep our students and staff safe and two, to educate them with quality education,” said Baker.

Baker says she wants parents to understand the numbers behind the policy change.

“So in essence we had about 461 that were at home because of being quarantined due to being in close contact with someone who was COVID-positive,” said Baker.

But for any parent who still wants to withdraw their student, Baker said they’ll have to contact the city’s data clerks.

“It will be the same process as if they were enrolling. We have data clerks at all of our schools so there’s a process for a parent if they want to withdraw,” said Baker.

Baker says Harris County schools are also implementing a rule where only those who are within 3 feet of someone who has COVID has to be quarantined.

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