Arkansas parents turning to homeschool citing masking concerns

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ark. – COVID-19 cases are spiking again in Arkansas, affecting more children eighteen and under this time.

With school kicking off this Monday, many parents are still concerned about mask wearing, and although the choice has been left up to the school, some parents are deciding to opt-out altogether.

Gewndolann Faulkenberry, an English teacher at Arkansas Tech University, is also a mother of four and is concerned about her 9-year-old daughter, who is unvaccinated. Her daughter Stella is not eligible to be vaccinated.

There is a way for those under 12 to be protected from COVID-19.

“They should also be teaching their children very proactively how to wear their masks, when it’s safe to take them off, and when they should absolutely have them on,” said Pediatrician Sarah Deroo.

The circuit ruling to block the state ban on mask mandates leaves the masking decision up to local school officials. Stella’s school is in Franklin County, which will require mask-wearing indoors. That’s not a chance Faulkenberry wants to take. Instead, Stella will be homeschooled.

“She just cried and been sick about it, you know, because she really loves her friends and really needs to be in school, but I’m not going to take an unnecessary risk with her,” said Faulkenberry.

Health officials say the best way to protect children is to get vaccinated.