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Parents share concerns ahead of Bozeman schools mask-wearing decision

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 19:03:41-04

BOZEMAN — It’s still undecided if Bozeman students will be required to wear a mask this upcoming school year.

Faye Nelson is one Bozeman parent in favor of students wearing masks.

“I think it should be a requirement because that’s when everyone’s on the same page, everyone is equal and we’re all protecting each other,” Nelson said.

Karyn Carpenter is a parent who isn't necessarily against wearing masks but is against a mandate.

“As a parent you should be making your own decisions for your kids whether they want to wear a mask or not. I think it should be an optional task that the parents, they do their research on. If you want them to wear a mask, great. If you don’t want them to, they shouldn’t have to,” said Carpenter.

Both sides have a goal of doing what’s best, but they have different opinions on what is best.

“It worked for us last year. Masks worked in the schools," said Nelson. "It’s important to keep our students safe and our teachers safe and our parents’ ability to stay in the workforce.”

“I do not believe that my children need to be mandated to wear a mask. They like to be expressive with their facial expressions. I feel like it's a great part of their emotional development, and I would hate to deter them from that,” Carpenter said.

But both parents agree, it’s a decision that requires everyone working together.

“Public health issues are always about the entire community working together. No one’s excited about it, but it’s just something that has to be done,” Nelson said.

“They need to also listen to the parents and their concerns and listen to—that’s the only way we’re going to get back to any sort of normal is if we all work together and move forward,” Carpenter said.

We’re less than three weeks out from the start of classes in the Bozeman School District on Monday, August 30.

A decision is expected at one of the next two school board meetings on either Monday, August 16, or Monday, August 23.