Here’s what some Kane County parents are saying about masking their children at school

The school year is rapidly approaching, and one big question facing districts is whether to require masks for students, or leave the decision up to parents.

St. Charles District 303 announced on July 19 and Geneva District 304 announced Thursday that masks will not be required. Batavia District 101 has not yet announced its policy. The Kaneland District 302 school board will meet on Monday, when a decision on masks is expected.

The Kane County Chronicle asked local parents if they will send their children to school with a mask, regardless of their districts’ masking policy. This has been a topic of contentious and often polarizing debate, with parents on both sides making their voices heard at school board meetings and by emailing district administrators.

Here are some of the many responses and differing opinions that we received:

“I strongly believe this is the parents and children’s choices to wear masks or not. This virus isn’t going away. We need to learn to live with it.” – Tonia Groezinger, Kaneland District 302

“I do not mind if kids wear masks to school next year. Kids, (at least my own), do not seem to mind wearing masks as much as adults do, so if we receive an option, I will ultimately leave it up to my kids to decide. With that said, I would be more than willing to send them in a mask if there is another child they will be near who is immunocompromised and more at risk.” – Stephanie Hawkinson, Geneva District 304

“I’m the parent of a 4th grade student. He will be wearing a mask to school regardless of the guidance until he is able to be fully vaccinated. With the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics and epidemiologists to continue wearing masks, we will be following science. We are members of a community, and with that comes the responsibility to keep ourselves and our communities safe.” – Lindsey Williams, Batavia District 101

“I believe that masks should be optional and we should not be basing the mask option on when kids can and cannot get the vaccine because some parents will not be giving their child the vaccine. Teachers and staff have been vaccinated, the children are social distanced at school and hand washing is mandatory. Let’s try mask optional and let each parent make the choice for their own child. To each their own.” – Robin Olsen, Kaneland District 302

“I want my elementary school child to be masked, but not my vaccinated high school student. I think the D304 school board should consider tying school masking to county case counts and positivity rates. If the county is doing well, maybe unvaccinated kids can take off the masks. But when Kane is high risk, they should mask up.” – Catherine Delagrange, Geneva District 304

“Keep it simple. Let the parents decide what is best for their child.” – Kirsten Pjesky, Kaneland District 302

“It’s simple to me. If they are vaccinated, there should be no mask requirement. If they are unvaccinated, then they should be required to wear a mask. My 11-year-old will wear a mask at school. My 14-year-old, who is vaccinated, will not.” – Phil Kirschbaum, Geneva District 304

“I love D303′s decision! My daughter is District 304 and I will absolutely be sending her to school mask-less. – Breanna DeHart, Geneva District 304

“I will be sending my kids to school with masks. There are kids at school with compromised immune systems so we don’t want to contribute to others getting sick. The more the virus spreads, the more likely a new mutation will come out.” – Allison Haugrud, St. Charles District 303

“Masks should be an optional choice. I will not be masking my children. It is time to let people move on and make choices that are best for them.” – Laurie Lyons, St. Charles District 303

“My son attends Kaneland High School ... I am very concerned that kids who are not vaccinated must wear masks to school to help protect others.” – Rhonda May, Kaneland District 302

“We do not want our child masked, nor does she want to wear one. This virus has an extremely low mortality rate in children. This is a decision about my child’s health that I should have a say in. Not the school’s decision.” – Denise Herriman, Kaneland District 302

“I worry that masks may be optional which would be really hard on the teachers to manage. The social pressure for kids to mask or not would be a distraction as well. For now, we need to follow the science and do this small thing when indoors or not socially distanced.” – Jaime Gaggini, Kaneland District 302

“[We] will return without a mask.” – Heidi Patrick, St. Charles District 303

“My children will be going in masks. It’s their only protection as they can’t get the vaccine yet since they’re under 12. It should be mandatory in the elementary schools for that reason.” – Taylor Roberg, Batavia District 101

“My daughter will be going to school mask-less.” – Connie Hermes, Geneva District 304

“I strongly believe in the science that supports masks and vaccination during this pandemic. The goal is to keep all kids in school and safe, especially with a more aggressive variant at our door.” – Marion Tuttle-Kragt, Kaneland District 302

“I will never put a mask on my children and send them off to school for seven hours.” – Lisa Raphael, St. Charles District 303

“I feel strongly that we need to, at the bare minimum, have unvaccinated children masked. I have a child going into the middle school and isn’t eligible for the vaccine yet. They will be masked at school. Our younger kids need to stay protected. We need to keep everyone safely in school, learning in the classroom and available to continue activities, sports and clubs. Let’s not go back to last year’s shut down. Let’s move forward supporting our community and taking steps safely.” – Megan Nolan, Geneva District 304

“I am for mask optional, regardless of receiving the shot. I am all for immunosuppressed to wear them.” – Kathryn Hoffman, Burlington District 301

I will be sending my kids to school in masks. I have two children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and one who is vaccinated. The recommendations are clear from medical experts that unvaccinated people should wear a mask to protect themselves and others. My kids want to be learning in person. This is a small step that we can all take for all kids to be in person, keep all kids safe from Covid-19, and deal with less disruptions to a normal school year.” – Stephanie Bellino, Geneva District 304

“I will not be sending my child with a mask. The social and emotional trauma we experienced this past school year are irreversible and my son is not the only one who suffered. There should be a choice, the same way there has been a choice for other educational and medical decisions in previous years.” – Mary Comer, Kaneland District 302

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows is the editor of the Kane County Chronicle.