ELMHURST, IL – With temperatures plummeting to single digits, seven residents showed up to speak at the Elmhurst School District 205 board meeting on Tuesday evening. All but one focused on the same topic: masks.
Four of the residents urged the district to challenge Governor JB Pritzker’s executive order requiring masks in schools, while another questioned the mandate’s enforcement. Another mask credited for keeping the coronavirus out of schools. Still another praised the council’s work in relation to the pandemic.
During public input, resident Jennifer Fiocca, who has two daughters at Emerson Elementary, said children carried the burden of wearing masks when adults were most at risk of contracting the coronavirus. She argued that there was no measurable difference in outcomes between countries and states that enforce strict pandemic rules and those that don’t.
Chris Lameka, a resident with two children in Elmhurst School District 205, said the masks “are nothing more than face decorations.” (David Giuliani / Patch)
Like others, he questioned the effectiveness of face coverings.
“Cloth masks are nothing more than a fashion accessory,” she said.
Chris Lameka, a parent of two students from District 205, said the masks do not prevent most of the transmission of the coronavirus, calling them “nothing more than face decorations.” He suggested to the district survey parents how they feel about the problem.
Courtney Bowman, a clinical counselor who has two children at Field Elementary, has urged the district to make the mask optional. That was the school district’s policy last summer until the governor issued his mandate to statewide.
Bowman cited his credentials as a consultant to say that children lose their sense of control when everyone is disguised. They can’t see each other’s faces, he said, so they can’t smile at each other. This damages their ability to make connections, she said.
Resident Tim Grebs tasked the district with the Bryan Middle School alternate teacher who recently forced students to do push-ups or jumps when they weren’t wearing masks properly. Patch reported on the situation Tuesday.
At work, he said he has never forced an employee to do pushups or any other type of exercise when he makes mistakes.
“I sure didn’t do it in front of a large group of people,” said Grebs.
About 20 years ago, he said he received sage advice while in the military: “Praise in public and punish in private.”
Grebs said the district should “politely and gently” ask children to wear masks correctly. The community trusts the school district, she said, but with Bryan’s incident, “a little bit of that faith has been shattered.”
Another resident, Lisa Sullivan, noted that the number of Elmhurst students who contracted the coronavirus from school contacts has been zero most of the time in the past few weeks.
“This is because we have a masking requirement,” he said. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the school board.”
Resident Guido Nardini, who supported the masks mandate, did not specifically mention the issue during Tuesday’s board meeting. But he praised the work of the school board.
“You guys are doing selfless work. This pandemic has been over for two years and we are all angry and confused and trying to get away with it,” Nardini said. “You’re doing the work everyone needs and election time comes, don’t think there isn’t a big chunk of this community that appreciates your practically chore and has some sympathy for the warmth you capture while everyone has to do with their most loved resource, their children “.
The school board did not react to the comments on the masks.
This article originally appeared on Elmhurst Patch