One mother is asking Collier County Public Schools to make masks optional for students in the classroom

Posted at 4:04 AM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 09:54:13-05

NAPLES, Fla. — Cassie Bradley, says enough is enough and has created a petition asking the Collier County School District to allow parents like herself to make their own decisions when it comes to sending their kids to school with masks. Bradley did not wish to comment on camera but told FOX 4 in a statement.

“Many people aren’t aware that multiple private and charter schools opened since August with a mask optional policy and haven’t had any reported outbreaks. C.C.P.S, where masks are required have a higher percentage rate of cases. As well as higher disciplinary actions due to masks, which is disruptive to their educational experience and their right to attend public school. Enough is enough, let our kids be kids and put the decision back into the homes of the families. they miss your smiles,” said Cassie Bradley, a concerned mother.

Medical experts say covering the nose and mouth helps prevent the spread of the virus, but Bradley says, she’s worried about the emotional and educational impact this mandate is having on kids connecting with peers and teachers.

Dr. Russell Sabella, a professor with the Department of Counseling at Florida Gulf Coast University says wearing a mask does reduce how accurately we can interpret emotions.

“So what we do know is that by putting on a mask, they are a little bit less accurate in interpreting their emotions, but what we also know is that your face and your facial expressions isn’t the only thing that helps you figure out what someone is feeling or what it is they are trying to communicate,” said Dr. Russel Sabella.

However, Sabella says teachers and adults are working to make up for the communication issues many students are facing in the classroom.

“School counselors and teachers collaborate in order to do more literacy training, using everything from video clips to pictures, to video games, all of those kinds of things,” said Dr. Sabella.

At home, before sending your kids to school Sabella says parents can do their part to make sure their kids are not missing out on healthy communication.

“Parents can make an extra effort to do some more face-to-face activities and interactions as compared to maybe face to screen interactions that their kids currently have,” said Sabella.

Collier County has released a statement regarding the petition, it reads as follows "The current health and safety measures are in place to protect students and staff, as well as to limit the community spread of COVID-19. Face coverings/masks remain a critical piece to a layered approach of safely operating our schools. Our health and safety measures enabled us to open our 50+ campuses back in August and all have remained open," said Chad Oliver Executive Director, Communications & Community Engagement