The question of mandatory masks in schools has become a source of contention so much so that school board meetings have turned into shouting matches, scuffles and arrests. Candidates have run for school board seats in an attempt to shape policies.
The decision has been left up to the local leaders.
Some school officials around the country welcomed state-imposed mandates for sparing them from having to make unpopular decisions, especially early in the pandemic. But many superintendents say they now have the tools to decide whether masks should be required, and they welcome the ability to adapt as needed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends masks for students and staff inside buildings, leaving district leaders to weigh the federal guidance against what they have seen in their own schools and heard from the parents, teachers and students.
School superintendents generally prefer flexibility to make their own decisions on mask requirements based on infection numbers and vaccination rates, said Dan Domenech, executive director of the School Superintendents Association.
How are the superintendents to respond when being pulled like a yo-yo between parents?