Classroom Confessionals: ‘I believe that forcing a child to wear a mask 7 hours a day is torture’

How San Antonio-area parents, educators feel about sending kids to classrooms

Students

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: Want to have your voice heard? Submit your thoughts on returning to school here. Watch KSAT’s Back To School town hall for grade-school students here. Tune in here on Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. for a town hall about middle and high school students.

Parents and teachers are continuing to speak out about their opinions for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year and virtual learning seems to be the biggest sticking point.

As San Antonio-area schools are preparing to reopen with face-to-face instruction amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, KSAT asked parents, educators and students to weigh in.

In the first edition of KSAT’s 2021 Classroom Confessionals series, virtually all of the commenters expressed concern about the lack of an option for virtual learning and kids going back to school without a mask mandate, but after that published, others have weighed in to say they’re glad to return to campus and happy that the mask choice is left up to parents.

KSAT has received well over 100 responses in just three days following the original prompt to share your thoughts regarding the return to schools with most still focused on mask-wearing, virtual learning and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Major governing bodies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, San Antonio’s Metro Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all recently advised people to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccine status.

Despite this, Abbott has doubled down on his stance prohibiting governmental entities like schools from issuing masks or vaccine mandates and Texas schools are required to comply with the governor’s executive order.

Some of the most recent viewer responses have been curated and published in the list below. We aren’t done listening though, and there are still more responses to share. If you want to weigh in, you can do so below the responses in the prompt at the end of the article.

You can find more background information about where things stand currently and the latest education news in our back-to-school section.

Why is everyone so concerned about a mask mandate? Why can’t people wear their mask. No one is saying you can’t. If I feel I need to mask, I will. If I don’t see the need I don’t have to mask up. Too many winners. Parents don’t need a mask mandate to mask their children for school.

Colleen

I enrolled my daughter for her first year of school but I will be taking her out. My daughter has severe asthma and I don’ t think its safe enough to send her at this point she’s only 4.

Anonymous

Kids can choose to wear masks but they can’t wear masks in their cafeterias or gyms and so the spread of the virus is inevitable-even to those children that mask up. Community spread will be exponential. Even if most kids won’t be very ill themselves, they bring the virus home to adults and seniors.

Anonymous

Disappointed and angered that funding for virtual learning was abandoned on the house floor when Democrats walked out. It’ll be interesting to see how many students, teachers, and faculty are infected by this disease and who could’ve had a choice to stay home, but were robbed of that opportunity.

Anonymous

I don’t like the way Texas is handling all of this. Especially not wanting to keep our children safe. I am a very upset parent.

Anonymous

As a band director, my students rely on AIR to make music. Because of this, we need to have the opportunity to enforce all students wear proper playing masks and bell/instrument covers. Under the new mandate, we are not legally able to do this.

Tiffany

Remember when COVID-19 could live on surfaces 24-72 hours? I relied on that. It helped me relax with hand, to object, to face transmission. But variant Delta - how infectious is it? I would like to ease up again. Is the info out there? I only hear of the chickenpox comparisons.

Anonymous

I think Abbott should spend a few weeks at a school and see how safe it is for him. We as parents should have had a choice when it comes to our children’s safety. I think it is a pride thing with Abbott. I hope he knows something we don’t.

Robert

Our son is recovering from surgery and cancer treatment since the pandemic began. His story was profiled in the Texas Tribune over many months. We are extremely frustrated with the Governor and NEISD Superintendent by putting politics ahead of the safety of our children.

Rupal

I believe that forcing a child to wear a mask 7 hours a day is torture. If parents want to make their kids wear them it’s on them. If masks truly work, then parents forcing their kids to mask up should not worry. I chose to homeschool last year due to the ridiculous COVID protocols. Best decision.

Krystal

As a parent of an NEISD student, I am absolutely terrified of sending my child to school. No virtual option is understandable but masks should be required! We should not be put in a position to risk our child’s and family’s lives because of others’ ignorance.

Anonymous

I am so tired of the fear being instilled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am an American! I should be free to decide for myself if I want to mask up or not. I should be free to vaccinate my children or not. I pay taxes and should feel free to send them to public school or to home school them.

Elizabeth

Both of my current are too young for the vaccine, and we have an immuno-compromised family member in our home. Given the severity of Covid right now, I feel families should be given the choice for virtual learning. Money and politics over the safety of kids is just not OK.

Anonymous

I’m a parent and doesn’t matter what we say... no one is listening to our concerns, especially the Governor. How can he expect parents to be responsible when Texas is leading the COVID cases? How is that working out Governor? God bless our kids as we lead them into the lion’s cage.

Anonymous

I am so thankful that our local schools will have in-person learning and are letting parents decide if their child wears a mask. COVID is not going away, neither is the flu and other illnesses. I don’t want anyone to be sick. Or scared. There is no easy answer to this. I support Gov. Abbott.

Anonymous

Not a Republican or a Democrat. I wear a mask when I go out, mandate or no mandate, encouraged or not. Democrats walked out, so no funding could be passed, Republicans said we’re not gonna tell you how to live your life. Mask or don’t mask, send kids to school, or homeschool. Quit your pissing and moaning and make your own choices.

Anonymous

As a parent to a child in NEISD School District, it utterly amazes me how the superintendent of this large district chooses Not to fight for Masks or Virtual Learning. There seems to be some cowards in these high positions afraid of not getting paid versus thinking about the lives of our children.

Anonymous

I’m honestly terrified to send my kids back to school. They are at as much risk now as when decision was made to close school. Even more so now due to ignorance and lifting of mask mandate. Parents should at least have option on virtual learning until vaccine is available for all age groups.

Anonymous

Education is essential for my 5 kids and their development. The risk of COVID is low with children and teachers being given priority for vaccines. Parents have the choice to get vaccinated. With masks, leave the choice up to the parents. Have YOUR kids wear them if you choose.

Anonymous

It’s not safe for our kids to return to school yet. i think they need to have only school again.my kids attend spring isd and they have no protocol.

Tabitha

Very concerned and disappointed that virtual school isn’t being offered as an option for those that want it. May have to homeschool if that isn’t option that comes available soon.

Anonymous

As a parent and previous employee within the school system, my thoughts are pulled in different views. For virtual learning, it can work. Consistency, creativity, communication between parents/guardians, politics, staff, students, should remain positive and understanding across all cultures. JV2021

Jennifer

This is unfortunately an example of bad leadership, fueling poor choices. I have two young children that will be attending school shortly and they are not vaccinated. We as a family take care of my Mom who is currently on the Lung Transplant List. Where is our protection..who will stand up for us..

Melissa

The worst governor of Texas continues to get worst; just like his buddy D.T.. Hope True Americans/Texans will vote him & his There top 2 Texas government buddies. Do what’s important to all and keep us safe.

Anonymous

I will have to withdraw my 5 & 6 year old children from NEISD until they can be vaccinated. My wife is battling stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and if my kids catch COVID and infect her, she very well could die. I am not willing to take that chance. Abbott doesn’t care about the immunocompromised.

Anonymous

My child starts school on the 10th. I’m terrified. I’m actually scrambling to figure out if homeschooling is a possibility. KN95 masks have been ordered. Abbott doesn’t care about our health, much less our children. I’m doing what I can to protect my child but virtual learning NEEDS to be an option

Anonymous

Greg Abbot must follow the science and allow schools and localities to protect children by mandating masks. I want my 11 year old to go back to school safely. I would like to see a reporter press the gov for real answers: Don’t all kids count? How does he propose to protect Texans <12 in schools?

Eléonore

It’s all politics for Abbott. He doesn’t care how many get sick, how many have lifelong health consequences, how many die. I use to think he was a wonderful Governor. Now I see he wants to set himself up as a dictator and is all about power and control of people. You’ve the power to vote them out.

Anonymous

Onevernor Abbott and everyone that doesn’t allow virtual learning for our kids will be responsible for whatever happens. As a parent and a voter, you are doing things the wrong way for our kids. This virus will continue to spread and each child will take it to their homes where it will be worse.

Sylvia

The overwhelming majority of responses to the KSAT prompt are concerned parents who are expressing concern that virtual learning is not an option for the upcoming school year.

A report from the Texas Tribune published in June states that Texas law only allows remote instruction for public schools as long as the majority of instruction is in person. This means that the state will not fund school districts for remote learning - making the financial burden impossible to bear for many districts.

In the most recent legislative session, Texas lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would have funded school districts for virtual learning.

However, House Bill 1468 died on the legislative floor despite being broadly supported by both Republicans and Democrats. The bill would have allowed funding for virtual education in Texas schools but House Democrats walked off the floor, effectively killing the bill, in an effort to block a controversial voting bill.

EXPLAINER: Texas Democrats fled the state. Here’s why.

Want to chime in? We may publish your thoughts on our website or feature them on our newscasts, but you can remain anonymous if you wish.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.