▶️ Parents and families react to another school year starting with masks

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Naomi Ludwig has three boys in Bend-La Pine Schools.

“The thought of him wearing a mask all day in school, through PE, never taking it off, that is hard on them. No water fountain. I’m not really excited about this next school year.”

That was Ludwig talking about last school year, when kids returned to in-person learning classes, having to wear masks.

On Thursday, she learned her kids are going to have to wear masks at school again this year.

“I’m not for the masks, definitely. I am all for safety, but I think the kids need to breathe,” she said.

Gov. Kate Brown has asked state health and education leaders to draft new rules requiring masks indoors for k-12 students this fall.

Brown’s decision comes from concern over the highly contagious delta variant and rising COVID cases across the state.

K-12 schools to require masks this fall as COVID cases rise across Oregon

Owen Ludwig, a kindergartner, wasn’t thrilled either.

“I can’t breathe in it,” he said.

Some local school districts had announced earlier this summer that masks wouldn’t be needed this fall.

But after Thursday’s announcement, everything has changed.

Tami Hamey, the mother of a Bend High freshman, said she was fine with the decision.

‘Whatever we need to do, to get kids back in the school,” she said. “If more people got vaccinated, then we probably wouldn’t have to, but the choice not to, so it is what it is.”

Judy and Bruce Carpenter have six grandkids in Central Oregon public schools.

“I think it’s going to be really hard on the kids,” Judy said. “I mean it is difficult to have it on so long for adults let alone kids.”

“Difficult for the kids,” Bruce added. “But I think it is necessary for the health of their well-being.”

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