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Several Unit 5 parents urge district leaders to make masks optional

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NORMAL (HOI) -- Some Unit 5 parents are asking district leaders to loosen mask mandates and make masks optional for the 2021-22 school year.

Dozens of people showed up to Wednesday's board meeting in McLean County, many wearing red shirts and carrying signs.

One mom said other districts and states have already removed their mask mandates, and asked Unit 5 leaders to do the same.

“I have a niece and nephew in Iowa about 3-4 hours away, and they did not miss a single day of their 2020-21 school year. They’ll be returning without their faces covered in August, and I feel like they are living on a different planet than my son," Unit 5 parent Mollie Emery said.

Superintendent Kristen Weikle said the district has yet to make a final decision, noting that the next few weeks will play a huge role as students prepare to return to school in August.

“I know everyone is anxious to really know. But we do have still a month before school starts," Weikle said. "We want to give that information to all of you as soon as possible, but we also want to make sure we are providing the board with accurate information that is up to date, so (they) can make an informed decision."

Weikle hopes the board will make it's decision next week - however, one thing is for sure - anyone riding on a school bus will have to wear a mask, including the driver.

Weikle said any parents unhappy with that rule will have to find another way for their kids to get to school.

Harry Croton

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