FORT MYERS NEWS
FORT MYERS, FL. – Parents argue for, against mask mandate in Lee County schools.
COVID-19 concerns were at the top of the Lee County school board meeting Tuesday night.
Masks were first discussed on the campus.
“I’m asking you to make masks mandatory for the upcoming school year,” said a former Southwest Florida teacher.
A local parent said, “You guys don’t have the authority to make anything mandatory. Let’s be clear on that.”
It became clear that masks remain a divisive issue between parents and members of the community.
As of now, the Lee County schools district is keeping them optional on campus, but they are also reviewing district protocol.
“Keep medical procedures away from our schools,” said a local mother.
Next, there was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lee County Health Department to help provide COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to students and staff.
A Southwest Florida parent said, “It says testing will only be performed with the informed consent of each patient or their parent or their guardian,”.
There were immediate concerns about the language in the MoU, which made it appear that students under the age of 18 would be allowed to get vaccinated or take COVID-19 tests through the district without their parents’ permission.
“There’s no way a child can consent to a medical test or vaccination. It needs to be informed of consent from the parent,” said Lee County school’s Board Attorney Kathy Dupuy-Bruno, Esq.
The district quickly cleared that issue, saying the clause was written to accommodate adult staff members, and later passed a resolution on the issue.
Despite these changes and promises to tighten its protocols, a longtime county activist said this is too little for many county substitute teachers.
Marvin Goetz said, “Nobody talks to us, nobody puts us on committees, they don’t listen to us. So, I’m telling you today that I’m personally resigning.”
Goetz tells that plenty of other substitute teachers in the county feel the same way.
He says he worries about returning to class because of COVID-19 and wants to pay more.
Goetz says a group of those teachers is planning to meet next Wednesday morning to make a final decision on their employment with the district.
Stay tuned with us for more updates.