FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Elkins School District announced they’ll be separating masked and unmasked kids in the classroom.
This news comes while school boards across Northwest Arkansas have been voting on mask mandates.
One parent said when he first saw the newsletter sent out by the superintendent, one parent felt completely blindsided.
“I honestly feel it is a bit of tone-deaf response by those who are supposed to have the best interest for our children. I think they were trying to please everyone, but their job is to look out for their best interest,” said Elkins parent Jerry Duncan.
The newsletter said the thinking behind separating masked and unmasked kids in the classroom will drastically reduce the chances of masked students being forced to quarantine during the school year.
We reached out to the superintendent’s office for a comment on the newsletter, we have not heard back.
Duncan, father of two in the Elkins district, said he’s worried policy could increase bullying and mask shaming, along with other significant consequences.
“Our schools could turn into a breeding ground that could affect the larger population,” said Duncan.
We reached out to the Arkansas Department of health for its take on the policy.
“Schools are trying to do as much as they can in their context to keep kids safe. They probably felt like they could do as some districts have done, a mandate right, maybe they didn’t feel like they could do that,” Dr. Joel Tumlinson, a physician in outbreak response.
Duncan said to his knowledge; there was no opportunity for public input before the policy was sent out to parents. He’s also reached out to the superintendent’s office to voice his concerns; he has not heard back.