ROCHESTER, Minn. - A challenging conversation is underway in the Med City community, as Rochester Public Schools reevaluates its masking rules for students.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Kent Pekel will present his recommended updates to the district's face covering policy at next Tuesday's school board meeting, after being tasked with bringing it up to speed with the latest guidance from public health experts. A number of people say they're planning to speak out against masking in the classroom during the session.
"We are listening to both sides," Dr. Pekel told KIMT. "I've talked particularly with parents who are strongly pro-masking, mostly we're talking about little kids who are not vaccinated ages two through 11, and talked to parents who are strongly against masking. It's been important to have those conversations with both sides of that divide."
"I don't think that someone who has strong feelings on either side of this issue and advocating for their children doesn't care about all kids." Dr. Pekel continued, "All the parents I've spoken to, even ones who are really mad, there's a concern for all kids that's there as well, and I'm glad to hear that. And I'm hoping that those parents and the community as a whole will have a sense that my job is to do what is going to keep all of our kids safe so they can learn in these great schools that we've got."
KIMT spoke with parents, students, and local leaders about their feelings on face coverings in Med City classrooms. Hear what they have to say by watching the story above.