FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — As the school year gets closer in Arkansas, some parents are worried to send their kids back to the classroom while the state deals with an increase in COVID-19 cases.
ReBecca Graham, a Fayetteville mom, said she is nervous to send her 11-year-old son back to school where masks won’t be required for students. Graham said her son will wear a mask to school, but is worried that won’t be enough when all other children are maskless.
“If he is surrounded by sick or unvaccinated individuals, he might as well not have one on,” Graham said. “So, I’m terrified of what’s going to happen. “
The more contagious Delta variant is infecting younger people and that is adding to parents’ concerns. Graham also said she thinks not requiring masks in schools is putting all the children at risk.
“Our children have a right to a free and safe education and I feel like that right has been taken from them, they won’t be safe,” Graham said. “It’s very concerning.”
Drew Offerle, a preschool mom, said she chose to take her 3-year-old son out of preschool to protect him and their family.
“We just didn’t feel comfortable keeping him in school in the state where there’s such low vaccine rates because the likelihood of him getting sick seemed pretty high,” Offerle said.
Fayetteville City Health Officer, Dr. Marti Sharkey, said she thinks all students under the age of 12, who are too young to be vaccinated, should wear a mask when they go back to school.
Graham and Offerle both encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect the young children.