GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- The Grants Pass School District is still deciding on what its mask guidance will be for the fall semester when school returns this month.
In the meantime, parents are letting their voices be heard, many expressing that they would perfer that their children not be required to wear a mask.
Some other parents have taken a stronger stance, pulling their children out of the Grants Pass school system entirely.
As of right now, the Oregon Department of Education is fining schools $500 a day per violation for each day a school does not enforce mask recommendations.
Rhett Fieldsted is a Grants Pass parent, health professional, and creator of the Facebook page, "Open Grants Pass/Josephine County Schools." He told Newswatch 12 that, with a vaccine that is effective, there should not be any overreaching from state and federal government officials and Covid-19 guidance should be handled on the local level.
"In the medical community, the negatives of masking children are either ignored or down-played," said Fieldsted. "They're real, but it's a difficult argument so they're able to utilize that fear to ensure that these things are being followed. But I don't have any fear, at all, of my children going to the school."
Fieldsted says masking and online schooling is the only learning experience his kindergarten age son has had. He added his child sometimes came home afraid to remove his mask since he was required to wear one at school.
He says he does not blame teachers for enforcing the rules, but before a decision is made, he wishes for those making mandates to take all data into account.
Newswatch 12 is continuing to follow this story as the Grants Pass School District and other districts across the Rogue Valley decide on what their next steps for students and staff will be.