Parents clash over masks at West Geauga school board meeting

Coronavirus

CHESTERLAND, Ohio (WJW)– The debate over a mask mandate in the West Geauga Local School District is intensifying.

About 100 people on both sides of the issue showed up early at the board of education meeting Monday night, with many carrying signs that supported their position.

“I’m a grandmother of four and I do not want my children and grandchildren to have to wear masks,” Carmella Juarbe said.

“I have three grandchildren who are too young to be vaccinated so I’m just hoping they maintain their policies,” Jennifer Weinbrecht said.

The policy requires facial coverings inside all indoor facilities until Oct. 22 at which time the district will revisit the mask requirement and determine whether to extend it.

The board has said the decision is based on a number of factors, including the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the district.

Anticipating the large crowd, and a possible protest police were also at the meeting in case anyone became overly disruptive.

(Photo: Suzanne Stratford/FOX 8 News)

“If you’re disruptive, you may be asked to leave,” said Chester Ramey, school board president.

During the meeting, both sides cited different scientific studies and numbers that supported their positions, drawing cheers and boos from the crowd.

After 45 minutes, the board stopped public comments and moved on with the rest of the agenda.

As the crowd dispersed, it was clear that the debate over masks in the school district is far from over.

“If there’s an outbreak and it spreads in the community, it could affect my family,” Weinbrecht said.

“First it’s masks, then shots, then it goes on and on and on,” Juarbe said.

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