FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — Dozens of parents organized a rally outside of the Poudre School District board meeting Tuesday night in protest of its recent decision to require masks for everyone, including students, inside school buildings.
“A lot of us are not happy. … We just think it’s time for the parents to get to choose,” parent Kelly Holdridge told FOX31 at the Tuesday rally outside the PSD board meeting.
Holdridge helped organize the event as a way to let district officials know not everyone agrees with their decision regarding masks. The group of parents is pushing for a choice instead of a mandate.
“If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. No one is going to say anything. But if they get the choice to wear a mask, we would like to get a choice to not wear a mask,” Holdridge said.
While parents like Holdridge rallied on one side of the parking lot Tuesday night, a small group of parents and educators rallied on the other in support of masks.
“School staff has your kids best interest at heart. That’s our number one goal,” PSD school psychologist and parent Melanie Potyondy told FOX31.
While only a small number of mask supporters attended the rally, the group says it believes a majority of parents agree with the mask mandate at PSD.
“I understand that masks are inconvenient. I understand that there are kids who have a hard time with them. My experience with them is most kids do well with masks, and I want to make sure that we’re keeping our schools safe and our schools open,” Potyondy said.
Masks ‘keep kids in school’
On Aug. 4, Superintendent Brian Kingsley announced the district’s new policy saying, “One of the biggest challenges I have heard was how difficult quarantines were for everyone. Our goal is to keep kids in school. The easiest way to do that is to wear masks.”
“It’s a hard pill to swallow when the state has been open all summer. No masks at concerts, sporting events, schools camps, band camps, orchestra camps, all with no masks. And then now, we have to have masks, and it just doesn’t seem to make sense,” Holdridge said.
According to PSD, the district will require masks because of the delta variant.
“It’s more contagious, it’s spreading and it’s impacting both vaccinated and unvaccinated people,” Kingsley said in the policy announcement.
Both sides seem to only be able to agree on one thing: they both believe they are fighting for what is best for the students.
In a statement to FOX31, PSD spokesperson Madeline Noblett said, “In PSD, we genuinely value hearing from others — even if we disagree. It’s important to engage in dialogue, particularly on issues such as these.”
PSD says it will reevaluate its mask policy if and when the current public health situation improves.