For the first time in over a year, Seward kids have option to not wear masks in school

Some Seward parents were excited that their kids were no longer required to wear masks in school, others wonder if the requirement was lifted too soon.

SEWARD, Neb. (KLKN) – For the first time in a long time, Seward Public Schools students went to school with the choice of whether or not to wear a mask.

Some parents in Seward said their children were excited to wake up this morning and go to school.

“When I woke them up for school, I said, ‘Good morning! It’s field trip day and it’s no mask day! Aren’t we excited?’ and they were,” Seward parent Jessie Bremer said.

“It was so amazing today to see, and I almost get emotional talking about it, to see all the kids walking into the high school, the smiles, it was awesome,” says Teri Hobson, a parent of three SPS students.

While some in Seward are excited for their kids, others in the community feel that ending the mask requirement in schools was premature.

“Everyone’s kind of seeing it as more of a way for everyone to have a choice in the matter,” says Emma Orwen, who grew up in the Seward Public School system. “I think where it’s irresponsible is the fact that a lot of kids don’t have a choice in the matter.”

Orwen says she is most worried about students who are immunocompromised or have underlying medical issues.

SPS superintendent Dr. Josh Fields says the main factor in the school board’s decision was state officials changing the DHMs to no longer require school-age children to quarantine after a COVID exposure.

He’s aware that not everyone will agree with the decision, but is hopeful the community can come together with eyes set towards the future.

“We do hope moving forward that we can kind of become united and move forward,” Fields said. “We’re very hopeful to be able to have more of a normal start to the school year next year, where we won’t have to be having any mask at all.”

Parents in favor of masks being optional in schools say they’ve explained to their kids to be respectful of other kids, regardless of their decision.

“We feel that it should be optional and some parents are going to choose to [wear a mask] and we need to totally respect that going into it,” Bremer said.

“We respect everyone because it’s a choice,” Hobson said. “If you have friends that are wanting to mask still, that is fine, because that’s their choice. Be kind.”

Fields says the last week of school as well as the start of summer school will give Seward Public Schools an opportunity to evaluate case counts to determine the best approach moving forward. As of now, the goal is to start the 2021-22 school year in Seward with no mask requirement for students.

Categories: Education News, Nebraska News, News, Seward