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Lexington doctors, students weigh in on mask mandate for schools

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The last year and a half have been difficult for Kentucky’s children.

“It took a really big mental health toll on a lot of students. Including me, and I think at the end of the day it’s all about sacrifice, and public school students and teachers have made several sacrifices over the past year,” high school senior Pragya Upreti said.

The mental toll of remote learning is one reason Upreti said she supported Gov. Andy Beshear’s mask mandate.

She’s a student at Lafayette, so her district had already put one in place.

“It was a big step in getting us back to some sense of normalcy. And if that comes with a cost of some politicization of our state or in our communities, I think as long as it’s following the science of this virus and what scientists have been saying for the past year and a half, then I think it’s worth it,” Upreti said.

One man told us his 9-year-old grandson was being homeschooled because they were worried that even with a mandate, students could still be at risk.

“These people who are opposing the masks and the mandate saying ‘it’s my choice’ are ignoring the fact that I can get it from them. I’m fully vaccinated, so I may not even feel symptoms. I can still transmit it to my grandson,” Chuck Eddy said.

Pediatricians have told us masks work at limiting the spread of viruses and they think asking students to wear them is a good idea.

But they don’t know how to get everyone to understand that.

“I don’t know how to bridge that gap. I understand, if I had a perfect world I would say ‘no let’s not.’ I wish we didn’t have coronavirus. I wish we didn’t have masks. But we have seen the research, we have seen the last year no one in my office caught the flu,” Dr. Katrina Hood said. “We know that it prevented illnesses and it’s going to prevent coronavirus.”

“I think it’s shocking. I never really thought we would get to a point where prioritizing the health and safety of students and educators would become political,” Upreti said.

That mandate from the governor also included daycares. It included children as young as two years old.

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