Parents have mixed reaction to Erie County’s mask mandate in schools

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ERIE COUNTY N.Y. (WIVB) – Students who attend school in Erie County will have to mask up inside the buildings, and parents have mixed reaction to the mandate.

“With the numbers rising, it makes sense,” said Karen Cheman, whose son attends school in the Buffalo Public School District. “I understand their decision and I support it, even though I don’t like the idea of my child wearing a mask, they wore them last year at school and most of the kids didn’t have a problem with it.”

“I think the children should still wear the masks, it’s just being safe than sorry,” said Geraldine Goodwin, whose grandchildren attend school in Erie County.

County health officials announced the mask mandate, as well as other school guidance, on Monday.

“Am I happy with the mandate? I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not happy with the mandate,” said Leon Arrington, whose grandchildren attend school in the Cheektowaga School District.

Masks will be required in every classroom setting and on school buses. There will be a chance for a five minute mask break each hour.

“I think it’s good. I think it’s great. I know some people complain and say no, but you know what, the children adapt greater than we think they do,” Goodwin said.

Dr. Willie Underwood, who’s the executive director of the Buffalo Center for Health Equity, says a mask mandate helps keep students safe and in the classroom.

“The point is, this is an aerosol spread disease. So we could reduce the spread, the exposure to the best of our ability and masks we’ve seen through research and science, have shown it does that,” he said. “We don’t want to be responsible for someone getting sick, being in he hospital, or even dying. We don’t want to be responsible for that. So let’s work together as a team and wearing a mask is a minor inconvenience.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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