Some Clovis Unified parents pushing for face masks to be optional

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Regardless of vaccination status, California kids and school staff will be asked to mask up indoors when school's back in session.

A rule that was heavily protested by parents at Clovis Unified Wednesday night.

Hundreds of parents and kids turned out to ask the school board to disregard rules set by the California Department of Public Health.

Ashley Pasqua has already held back her son Maddox one year because of distance learning, and she's worried he will struggle to communicate in Kindergarten while wearing a face covering.

"He's always been a little more shy and timid so that is a fear of mine that he's going to get put in the background and won't be able to shine," Pasqua said.

Clovis mother of three, Steph, said her son has a sensory processing disorder and masks have reverted the occupational therapy he's undergone.

"To watch my son say that he hates school when he is only eight years old, it's hard for a parent to watch and for my once straight-A student to have C's, that is really hard," she said.

While there has been a bit of confusion in guidelines released in recent weeks, health officials agree masks are still the best way to protect kids from COVID.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended this week any student over two years old, and all staff members wear masks- regardless of whether they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

The guidance differs from what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out this month, recommending masks indoors only for unvaccinated students and staff.

Clovis Unified officials said there are no plans to override whatever the State Department of Public Health regulations are on the first day of school, August 16.

"Whatever the requirement is at that time, that is what we will do at Clovis Unified," said Clovis Unified spokesperson Kelly Avants.

However, Clovis Unified did discuss a resolution Wednesday night to ask for the state to allow more local control for masking rules.

"The governing board of the Clovis Unified School District calls upon the California Department of Public Health to allow for local control of mask choice."

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.