‘We are fed up’: Local parents weigh in on school mask mandate

Southwest Louisiana AHEC to Host Vaccination Event at Rouses in Houma
August 5, 2021
Danos Foundation GIVES Grant Deadline is August 31
August 5, 2021
Southwest Louisiana AHEC to Host Vaccination Event at Rouses in Houma
August 5, 2021
Danos Foundation GIVES Grant Deadline is August 31
August 5, 2021

Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish School Districts, along with the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, are following the state mandate of masks being worn indoors for children ages 5 and older — vaccinated or not. 


Stress is high for parents as students return to school amidst the fourth COVID surge, which is said to be the worst yet. What does this mean for parents and their children as they go back to school?


A first-grade parent from Chackbay Elementary, who wished to remain anonymous,  voiced concerns over the mandate. “Is the option to go virtual being discussed? If cases are high enough to enforce masks indoors, I feel virtual should be an option,” the mother stated on Facebook. She also added, “Once the students are seated at their desk, the removal of masks should be allowed. Especially in the younger children. It’s imperative for small children to see emotions and expressions. Wearing masks in a hall, on a bus, in bathrooms, any area shared with other classes makes sense. Small children tend to constantly pull down their masks which defeats the point.”


Some parents see the mandate as a stab at basic human rights. Parent Christopher Pitre said, “We are fed up with our, and especially our children’s, civil liberties being abused by these mandates which are threatening our basic human rights. Let our children be children. Let them breathe! What kind of young men and women are we developing when they can’t even so much as see their peers smiling? It breaks my heart to see this tactical use of fear forcing our children into positions of unprecedented proportions. If we don’t unite against the tyranny upon this will only escalate. When will enough of our rights being taken be enough? Where do you draw the line before more and more of our own and our children’s liberties and rights vanish?”


Pitre also said he would like to see something that is happening in St. Louis County to take place here in Terrebonne Parish. St. Louis County recently reinstated the mask mandate as well. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has recently obtained a temporary restraining order that halted the enforcement of the mask mandate in the county. “Today, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office delivered a huge win for the people of St. Louis County and obtained a temporary restraining order, halting the enforcement of the mask mandate,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “This is an important, hard-fought victory, but our fight against unreasonable and unconstitutional government overreach continues.” A hearing on a preliminary injunction is tentatively set for August 17. Pitre said, “This is a great testament of standing up for your rights and liberties.”

Mitchell Hebert, a father of three students at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral School, said, “My concern with the mask mandate is there is no choice. The schools are using the mandate as law, but when we provide a medical exemption it is denied. The exemption is stated in the mandate, ‘Anyone who has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face-covering.’ There are children that suffer from mental health, depression, anxiety, sensory issues, speech impairments, and many more. Those parents and children are not given a choice. Wearing a mask is the only option given. There are more things affecting our children than just covid. In the mandate given by the governor, it states children 5 and up wear a mask. My son starts school at 4, and in two months, he turns 5. For his birthday, he gets a mask — while the rest of the 4-year-olds don’t have to wear one in the same classroom. I am not anti-mask; I am pro-choice.”


On the other hand, a parent from Grand Caillou Elementary, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “Regardless if it was mandatory or voluntary, my children were wearing their masks to school. I have a special needs child and can’t afford for her to get sick over these ignorant parents that are not taking this seriously. My family’s life is way too important. They will never understand until someone in their family or themselves is on the ventilator.”


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Children and adolescents can be infected with the virus and can spread it to others. In the United States through March 2021, the estimated cumulative rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 symptomatic illness in children ages 5-17 years were comparable to infection and symptomatic illness rates in adults ages 18-49 and higher than rates in adults ages 50 and older. The CDC also recommends that masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. They said consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.


The CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask-wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, they said it is especially important to layer multiple prevention strategies such as indoor masking. They encourage individuals to receive the vaccination if eligible to help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports because students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in fall 2021 is a priority.


According to the office of Governor John Bel Edwards:




Face masks that properly cover the wearer’s mouth and nose should be worn indoors at all times, unless a person is in a home, under the Governor’s statewide mask mandate, which will be in place until at least September 1.


The order requires face coverings for everyone age 5 or older or enrolled in kindergarten, except for the following:


  • Anyone who has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering
  • Anyone who is consuming a drink or food 
  • Anyone who is trying to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired 
  • Anyone who is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience 
  • Anyone temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes


Face coverings are highly encouraged for those ages 2 to 4 as tolerated.


As with the Governor’s previous mandate, children younger than kindergarten age are exempted if they cannot wear a mask. However, the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly encourage indoor mask-wearing in public for all children aged two and older, especially as they are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine. Generally, LDH shares these reminders for individuals and families who are trying to stay as safe as possible during the COVID-10 pandemic:


  • If you can do an activity outdoors instead of indoors, do it outdoors 
  • Follow good hygiene practices (wash your hands vigorously and frequently, and don’t touch your face)
  • Stay away from crowded settings 
  • Work virtually if possible 
  • If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested immediately 
  • If you’re in an at-risk group, be extra careful 
  • Everyone who is sick or who has COVID symptoms should stay home


Louisiana’s temporary indoor statewide mask mandate will stay in place until at least September 1 but may be extended if necessary. 


Click here to read more about the recent Louisiana reinstated mask mandate.