Lawton Public Schools completes first day under mask mandate

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Earlier this month an Oklahoma County District Judge placed a temporary injunction on Senate Bill 658.

The bill banned schools from mandating masks.

Now that schools are able to mandate masks, Lawton Public Schools reinstated their mask mandate.

Superintendent Kevin Hime said an uptick in cases throughout the community and the district is just a few of the reasons why he decided to mandate masks.

On top of that, knowing that local hospitals are loaded with covid patients played a role in the decision.

“It’s kind of scary because there are kids in the hospital across the state, and we want to do everything we can do to help protect our students,” Hime said.

The district also sent out a survey to parents to see who would allow their child to participate in a district-wide mask mandate, and 70-percent of parents voted that they would. Mitchell Pierce Jr. was one of those parents.

“For the simple reason is that it cuts down on the spreading of the virus. I’m not saying that you won’t catch it but it will minimize the people who get infected, and I think that they did a great deal by implementing that to protect students and staff,” Pierce Jr. said.

Carriage Hills Elementary School Principal Lesa Sparks is glad that the district stepped up to make a difference in the community, and that parents are on board.

“Overall our parents have been really supportive. If they have questions we’ve been here to answer. Anybody that would like to opt out has come to the office, and we have given them that opportunity to opt-out. We have a handful that has chosen to opt-out, and we’re going to respect their decisions just like we’ll respect the ones who want to wear masks,” Sparks said.

Although parents have the option to opt-out for medical, religious, or personal reasons, Hime hopes that parents don’t make that decision.

“Although I’m vaccinated, I started wearing my mask again. I don’t wear it to protect me, I wear it to protect those around me, and you really get vaccinated for those around you. Our hope is that we get our mask worn so we can protect our students and staff,” Hime said.

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