Springdale Schools vote to pass mask requirement

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In a meeting Tuesday, the Springdale School Board voted to require face coverings when returning to school.

One teacher in the district said while there’s a lot of things she can’t control this year, she’s glad face coverings won’t be one of them.

“I don’t believe there are any teachers who are just ready to go back to school without any concerns,” said Julia Crane, an instructional specialist for Springdale Schools.

How do thousands of kids return to school safely?

It’s the million dollar question school districts are scrambling to answer.

Crane said, “It’s difficult right now because the information that even comes to the district, it changes all the time, from the governor or even higher-ups.”

She said passing this requirement is a huge win.

“This is the best way that we can at least begin to prepare for what this school year might be like,” she said.

The Springdale teacher wanted to spread the idea of mask wearing not only within the district but throughout the community.

So, the “Wear Because You Care” campaign began.

“We want all 23,000 students and their families,” she said. “But, we also want our staff to be safe and we feel like this a common campaign we can all join together on and agree toward the same goal.”

Flyers about the campaign are in three different languages, English, Spanish, and Marshallese.

To senior Ian Gelicame, masks mean having somewhat of a normal school year.

“If we wear masks, then the coronavirus will go down and we can have regular school activities like football games, basketball games pep rallies,” he said.

Gelicame says he knows some things will definitely be tougher this year.

“My band told me we’re not allowed to play instruments because we’re breathing out so I don’t know how that’s going to work,” he said.

But, the school district says it is up for the challenge.

Crane said, “For over a century now, parents have been entrusting our system with their children- the growth of their bodies and their minds and their hearts, most of all for safety… and we don’t want to falter under any of those.”

You can learn more about Springdale Schools’ plan for fall in our interview with Superintendent Jared Cleveland.

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