by Benjamin Yount
Wisconsin’s state superintendent is taking a swipe at parents who don’t want their kids to be forced to mask-up this school year.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly on Wednesday wrote an op-ed that dismisses parents who are protesting mask mandates at their local schools.
“It pains me to see and read about the divisiveness and hostility that planning for a safe return to school for the 2021-22 school year has caused. As a former school district leader, I know firsthand that reaching universal consensus on any issue, in any community, is challenging,” Underlie wrote. “As our nation and state experiences another surge in this COVID pandemic, we need to give school staff and school board members some grace as they make these important decisions. But let me remind you of this: They are doing what is best for our children and are working hard to keep them safe and avoid disruptions in learning.”
Many parents across Wisconsin and the U.S. are fighting local mask mandates, saying the masks do more harm than good for young children. And they say it’s unnecessary to order vaccinated students and teachers to mask-up.
Underly said masks and vaccines are the best way to keep kids in school, in-person this year.
“The asks are simple, and the rewards are great. Wear a mask when inside buildings. Get vaccinated if you’re able to. Maintain safe distancing where possible. If we agree to collectively use these mitigation strategies, our school buildings remain open,” Underly said.
Underly’s Department of Public Instruction cannot order students in the state to wear masks or get vaccinated, those are local decisions.
Still, she makes it clear in her op-ed which said of the debate she is one.
Some Wisconsin schools have already reopened, but the vast majority of students in Wisconsin head back to school Sept. 1.
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