SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — All students, teachers and visitors to South Bend schools will be required to wear masks under a coronavirus policy officials revised a week after requiring only elementary school students to wear masks.
Monday night's decision by the South Bend Community School Corp.'s school board was driven by changing guidance on face coverings, for both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people, by health officials amid the spread of COVID-19's highly contagious delta variant.
“Although (community spread) numbers are low in our area right now, we see areas across the nation with those growing trends. And rather than being reactive, like we had to be last year, we want to be proactive," said Brandon White, assistant superintendent of academics.
Seven people spoke against the mask policy Monday night, saying they feel parents should decide whether their children wear masks at school and questioned the changing mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the South Bend Tribune reported.
“We do not need to be heavy-handed with children and ruin their lives with unnecessary restrictions,” Granger resident Amy Drake told the board.
The school board approved a policy July 26 requiring all elementary students and visitors to wear masks in district buildings. But the next day the CDC recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.
State health officials echoed the CDC guidance last Friday with their own strong recommendations for indoor masking at schools, though they stopped short of setting a statewide mandate.