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Unrest over masks leads to remote learning in Greenville

Feb 16, 2022 1:00 am

Rachel Silberstein is reporting for the Times Union that the Greenville Central School District has endured three days of unrest mostly from anti-vaccination parents and students, and also counter-protests by students who want to be protected. Tensions boiled over at a school board meeting on Feb. 14, after approximately 30 students walked out earlier that same day over the mask requirement. On Feb. 15, school officials announced that grades 6 through 12 would move to remote learning for the rest of the week, citing students' defiance of mask rules and disruptions to the school day. School officials initially refused to begin the board meeting Feb. 14 because several people were unmasked, but eventually they engaged with community members about the scope of their power and explained that the mask requirements are state-mandated. During the exchange at least one parent stood over the board members and berated them. A high school sophomore said she felt singled out by the high school's mask enforcement and resented comments from teachers and administrators about her vaccination status. On Feb. 15, a large group of students staged an indoor protest, leading to confrontations between pro- and anti-mask students in the hallway, school officials said. Superintendent Tammy Sutherland said she sympathizes with parents whose kids have been masked for nearly two years, but her hands are tied. "I do think there is COVID fatigue and we are required as you know, to enforce the mask mandate. Parents do not believe that; they think I have the ability to stop the mask mandate, which I don't," Sutherland said. Parents asked the board to support their effort to appeal to Gov. Kathy Hochul, whose administration dropped the mask mandate for businesses, but not schools last week. They also asked school leaders and teachers to show more kindness and lighten up on mask enforcement. Read more in the Times Union.