CONROE, Texas — Mask mandates weren't even on the agenda at a Conroe ISD board meeting Tuesday, but with case counts rising and child hospitalizations increasing, it was a tense topic as dozens of parents took the podium to make their views known.
There were concerns the board meeting could get out of hand. Extra Conroe ISD police officers were called in just in case. Things did stay peaceful, but parents in the district remain sharply divided on masks.
"Without masks, COVID will run rampant through schools," said one student.
"Mask mandating is unnecessary," said another parent.
Parents had different opinions on how best protect themselves and their kids from COVID-19.
"Our pediatrician told us it was not safe to go to school unless there was a mask mandate," said parent Trisha Danto.
Board members listened to the varying viewpoints, but for now, a mask mandate remains off the table. Conroe ISD opting to stick with Governor Greg Abbott's order that bans mask mandates in school districts.
"It makes you feel quite helpless to be honest," said parent Virginia Houk.
Houk started a petition with more than 2,500 signatures from parents who want a mask mandate put in place before things get worse.
"It's already not looking good," Houk said.
The board meeting happening just one day after the district saw its highest one-day COVID case count since the pandemic started.
"So many of our friends keep telling me everyday they feel they're sending their kids into a burning building," Danto said.
Parents fighting against a mask mandate argued masks do more than COVID-19, an outrageous claim that the science does not support.
"Don't make my child do it," said grandparent Diane Daniels. "We are in America, I believe still. I don't want schools mandating something that will hurt my kids and grandchildren."
There were a lot of false claims made at this board meeting that are important to clear up. Parents argued bogus claims such as more people have died from the COVID-19 vaccine than COVID itself.
To be clear, that is false.
The CDC maintains getting kids 12 and older vaccinated and wearing masks in schools are the best ways to protect your children.