PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — To mask or not to mask? That was the biggest point of contention at the Papillion La Vista Community Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday.
"The hurricane is not just coming, it is on our shores. We need to act now, we need this resolution,” said parent Whitney Jacque.
"For the parents that choose to have their children wear masks, then great. They can freely do so,” said parent Sommer Nowak. “For the parents that choose to have their children go without a mask, then great. They can also freely do so. It is their job as a parent to do what is best for their child."
Tensions flared high at Monday’s Board of Education meeting with parents on both sides giving their say. Pediatrician Sheila Snyder begged the board to choose science.
"Every day when I take over our admissions pager, I ask how many beds are open? Some hours are lucky and there are one or two open beds because someone just discharged from the hospital,” Snyder said. “Last week was not lucky. The nearest pediatric open beds were in Sioux Falls and Denver. There were no pediatric beds in Nebraska, none in Iowa, none in Minnesota. I don't want you to be in that position and I don't want to be in that position to tell you there's no more beds."
Other parents stood firm in a position of maintaining freedom and choice.
"A good start would be to quit trying to do the local health department's job. You do not need to do their job, that's not part of your contract," said parent Regina Foutch.
It's a controversial issue with both sides not willing to back down.
"This is not a matter to be decided by public opinion. It's not the prom court. It's urgent that we put these in place," added Jacque.
The board did decide to give the superintendent the power to make any future health-related decisions, like a mask mandate.