Last week, parents Caleb Michaud, Esther Wells, and Dawn Iannaco-Hahn told AFN why they were a unanimous “no” when they learned masks could be returning to Montgomery County Public Schools. At least one school, Rosemary Hills Elementary School, is requiring third graders to wear N95 masks to prevent COVID-19 from being spread in the classroom.
According to Fox News and other news outlets, the Rosemary Hills principal is sending parents at-home rapid test kits and encouraging them to watch for COVID symptoms.
Based on what his family experienced in recent years, parent Caleb Michaud tells AFN he opposes masks and other COVID policies.
"One of my children was dealing with a speech impediment under masking," the father recalls. "Once we removed the mask, his speech impediment went away."
Esther Wells can relate. One of her sons has autism and he constantly told her he didn’t want to wear a mask at school.
“He receives speech therapy,” she says, “And as you know with speech, he needs to see your mouth, and the movements and articulation, and your tongue movements, in order to help him grasp the language."
Wells shared those concerns with the coordinators at the learning center who said they were using clear, plastic masks.
"But that's not sufficient because your breath fogs up the mask, and to me that creates another barrier," says Wells. "To me, plastic mask, cloth mask, any mask, it's not serving the intended purpose. It’s not solving any problems. It's just delaying our children's educational development."
Meanwhile, Dawn Iannaco-Hahn's transferred one of her two sons to a private school because virtual learning was not meeting his needs. During the 2021 school year, he spent 19 days in a school classroom.
“It was a complete joke,” she says of the experience.
According to Michaud, there are likely many more parents who grew frustrated during the pandemic and are now growing nervous over a possible repeat.
"One of the big problems in Montgomery County right now,” he says, “is there is this culture where if you go against what is being considered mainstream, you're ridiculed or called out.”