By Megan Kelley
With the end of the school year in sight and the relaxing of mask mandates throughout the country, concerns over the masking of children remained a topic of conversation between Lake Orion Community School’s parents during the school board’s May 12 meeting.
Seven parents spoke at the meeting, all with a similar message: stop requiring that students wear masks in schools. The overarching theme of these calls being the claim that masks do not work and, in turn, masking students is creating a harmful and ineffective learning environment.
Cristin Jurj, a mother of five, shared her frustrations with juggling her children’s inconsistent schedules due to quarantines and her own full-time job.
“We need to really be thinking about what we’re doing to our youth. Because I can tell you right now, as much effort as we’re putting in, we’re still failing,” said Jurj.
Jurj was concerned over her Kindergartener’s IEP (Individualized Educational Plan), stating that her son had not met a single speech goal on his IEP this year due to the mask requirement.
“I thank the teachers that my kids are interacting with every day, I thank them, I know it’s tough,” Jurj said. “Part of Kindergarten is to teach my child how to fall in love with learning. It’s going to be a long 13 years. Unfortunately, we have failed miserably this year. He’s six-years-old under an IEP, he turns seven in August. I can’t have him repeat Kindergarten, that’s not fair to him.”
Parents of seniors raised issue with the current plans/requirements for end-of-the-year festivities, like prom and graduation.
LOCS announced plans earlier in the month to hold graduation at DTE Energy Music Theater. In the plans, the district stated that students would be limited to four family members in attendance.
The district has in the past limited family member attendance but has not done so since moving the graduation ceremony from Meadow Brook to DTE in 2012.
Later in the meeting, LOCS Superintendent Ben Kirby announced that the district had stopped requiring that students wear masks at recess due to new Michigan Department of Health and Human Services orders that stopped requiring masks outdoors in groups of less than 100.
However, the district will continue requiring masks indoors as they have since returning to school in January.
“I feel like we’re in a really good spot to finish strong. I feel like our staff had a really good month,” Kirby said. “And we will finish strong and have a great finish to our school year.”