Omaha students will no longer be required to wear face masks in schools after the Omaha Public Schools’ board voted the mask mandate off
Omaha, Nebraska – Face masks in schools for students, teachers and administrative staff has been a hot topic since the children were brought back to classrooms after the initial hit of the pandemic two years ago.
While many states, most them Republican-led states, have been fighting hard the mask mandates in schools arguing that only parents should decide if their children will wear masks in schools, states like Nebraska had mask requirement in place for most of the times across the state.
But the Omicron wave is losing the spreading pace recently and the Covid-19 numbers are declining for weeks now. That led the school officials to think about dropping the face mask mandates across the country.
On Thursday, Omaha Public Schools’ board voted the mandate off meaning that students, teachers and administrative school staff are no longer required to wear masks. The mask mandate was implemented since the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
With the Thursday decision, most of the students coming in school Friday morning were already seen maskless, however, those who want can continue wear mask or face covering.
“It is not over yet; however, we can all be proud of our steadfastness for our students and staff.” Dr. Cheryl Logan, superintendent of Omaha Public Schools said.
Before the voting, some of the teachers, students and parents of students were not happy with the proposal for dropping off the mask mandate pointing out how easy Omicron spreads. This was especially noted by a student who asked the board to consider keeping in place the mask mandate at least for a while.
“Do not throw away your umbrellas during a rainstorm just because you aren’t getting wet,” a student said.
The student also said that masks still remain very important and probably the best option students have to keep safe especially during the breaks when all of the students are found themselves in the hallways and that happens several times every day noting that in those occasions is not possible to maintain social distance at any case.
A teacher told the board she felt marginalized, saying she had been verbally abused on a daily basis — and that lifting the mask requirement is just another way to make teachers feel unsafe and powerless.
One parent urged the board to get rid of the mandate saying that certain board members weren’t doing their part to protect themselves and others, so she didn’t see why that should be asked of her children.
In addition, many other area school districts also announced they are dropping off their mask mandates once the Omaha mask mandate was lifted.