Report From the School Mask Mandate Battlefield

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

My grandkids have been homeschooled since they were old enough to go to school (going on 16 years or so now). Therefore, I don’t have a dog in this fight over school mask mandates. Neither do most of the commenters on this blog, I suspect.

Thus, a recent conversation with a friend who does have kids in public school (two K-5 boys) was most enlightening. I freely admit that this is one conversation and may not be representative. But this friend is smart, savvy, and observant and I trust his/her general observations.

When I mentioned that Monday would be the test of the governor’s Executive Order on school mask mandate, he sort-of rolled his eyes and lamented that policy was being based on the loudest voices. Most of the parents in our Henrico neighborhood school that her sons attended supported the mask mandate, she said. It was the few who did not that showed up at the school yelling at the principal and yelling at the teachers.

What about the kids? “The kids don’t care,” she replied. She said that her sons complain about what kids have always complained about: homework, tests, the teacher, other kids, the food. But, they have never complained about having to wear masks to school. They get used to them. In the afternoon, after walking about halfway to their house after getting off the bus, this is a typical exchange between him and the kids:

  • Parent: You can take your mask off now.
  • Kid: Oh. OK.

He said that a group of about seven families got together over Halloween to take their kids trick or treating, about 15 to 16 kids in all. None complained about wearing a mask.

As we parted, she commented about the schools having to deal with “whiny children.” She was not referring to the 5- to 11-year-olds in the classrooms.

Charles Schulz was certainly on to something when he created his Peanuts with no adults.