OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Millard Public Schools has reported 60 COVID-19 cases throughout the district since the first day of classes on Wednesday, August 11. Four of those cases are in one classroom at Montclair Elementary.
Parents say the lack of a mask mandate in the district makes them concerned, especially amid the rising case numbers.
As a result, parents at Montclair Elementary have decided to take their children out of school during lunchtime hoping to minimize exposure. They say lunch is the most dangerous time of the day for students as many kids sit shoulder-to-shoulder unmasked.
"Everybody’s unmasked to eat and we’re not social distancing or having students spread out back in the classrooms so that’s the most dangerous part of the day for my kids because they’re going to be unmasked with everyone else unmasked. Just because we’re fortunate enough to live in the neighborhood and to have flexible work schedules, me and my husband have been trading off coming up and having lunch and I know I feel a lot safer for my kids but I also know I want it to be safe for everyone. I’m hoping we could change the policy so everyone can have a safe lunch period," Allison Kinney-Walker, a parent with three kids at Montclair, said.
She and her kids sit at the picnic tables outside the school during lunch period to avoid exposure.
In a statement to 3 News Now, Millard Public Schools says "parents are welcome to take their children out of school for lunch. This has always been the case in Millard. Throughout the pandemic many schools have also taken students outside for lunch when weather permits."
Kinney-Walker says she and other parents want to see more action from the district to ensure safety.
"I thought the protocols we had in place last year were excellent. I was so impressed. I never had a child have direct exposure in the entire year. I had three kids in this school last year and I thought it was very safe and responsible and I would like to just go back to all those same policies and procedures until we get the cases under control here in Douglas County," Kinney-Walker said.
She began a petition urging the district to implement a mask mandate for students under 12 years of age. The petition has over 400 signatures.