SALINE COUNTY, Ark. — Parents are reacting after two Saline County schools have announced all students are required to wear a mask this upcoming school year.
"They don't want to wear them, and I don't see why they should have to,” said Brittany Burns, a Benton School District parent.
Burns has a Kindergartner in Benton schools. She's not happy about the new mask policy.
"Layton is terrified. He doesn't even want to go back to school. They kind of scare kids,” said Burns.
At Benton, all students Kindergarten through 12th grade are required to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible.
"I think the most important thing is that we ensure our parents that we are doing the very best to make sure our students and staff are safe at school. We are taking every precaution possible,” said Isabella Bradley, Benton School District spokesperson.
Students with health issues do not have to wear a mask, but others who choose not to wear one would be considered insubordinate.
"All of our guidelines are coming right now from the governor, the ADH, and CDC. Those are the guidelines we will continue to follow and we will enforce them,” said Bradley.
"I think it's a good idea,” said Haley Sanders, a Bryant High School junior.
The Bryant School District also passed a resolution requiring masks for Pre-K through 12th grades, including on school buses when social distancing isn't possible.
Sanders believes this is the best idea to help stop the spread of coronavirus at her school.
"I want to keep them safe, everyone else who is at high-risk, keep them safe,” said Sanders.
After learning of the mask requirement, Sanders is now making cloth masks for her classmates and friends ahead of the school year.
"I want to make some so my friends, and me, and others don't have to use single-use ones and waste them,” said Sanders.
Bryant Public Schools stated this new requirement may affect parents’ decision on blended on-site learning or virtual online learning.
The school is offering one more opportunity for parents to change their decision.
The final decision must be made by Monday if you have a student in the Bryant district.
The Benton School District is allowing parents to choose their child’s learning environment until July 30.