Many parents fear some districts will require masks in the next school year, and one school superintendent says some districts may require masks for flu season.

At the April 12 board meeting, USD 417 Superintendent Aron Dody in Council Grove said he was told that at a regional superintendent meeting.  Dody assured board members that he is not considering masks for flu season, however.

He told board members that those districts had considerably fewer flu cases this school year, and they attribute that to mask mandates.  The mask discussion begins at the 39-minute mark of the video.

The Sentinel asked Dody to identify those superintendents.  We also asked if any of those superintendents indicated how they weighed the negative educational and emotional consequences of mask mandates against the benefits of a possible reduction in flu cases.

Dody would not answer our questions.

Masks have educational, emotional, medical consequences

It’s hard to imagine how superintendents and school board members could justify that a significant reduction of flu cases is in students’ best interests, given the known educational, emotional, and medical consequences of forcing students to wear masks.

A Fox 4 Kansas City report on COVID grievances in Blue Valley provides some good examples.

Julie Myrick said her first grader is having trouble reading because of the mask mandate. She also said her fourth grader’s test scores have dropped.  Myrick argued that kids are suffering psychological harm from wearing masks and claims they don’t often wear them properly to do any good.

“My youngest son has reported increased anxiety and difficulty breathing,” Myrick said. “This is a child with epilepsy whose seizures can be triggered by increased physical or psychological stress. These are the short-term consequences. What are the long-term consequences of prolonged mask use in school-age children?”

The Blue Valley school board rejected her complaint, saying Myrick lacked standing because masks have been required since August and they only have to consider complaints filed within 30 days of an alleged incident.

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