INDIANAPOLIS — Several parents in Lawrence Township say they are stuck making tough decisions less than two weeks away from the start of the new school year.
Some are considering a virtual option after learning the district will not be requiring masks for those who have not been vaccinated, only recommending them.
Some parents say that puts students under 12 years old at risk because they are not eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 yet.
“I feel as a parent I'm having to make a choice between their education and their safety,” Ann-Marie Valdez, a mother of two children, said.
“This was just such a punch to the gut. It feels like two steps forward, one step back. It was great people are able to be vaccinated, some children are choosing to be vaccinated… those are all amazing steps, so until my children are old enough to be vaccinated it feels kind of scary. I have no choice but to put them at risk,” Kelly Hage, a mother of two children, said.
They are especially nervous now that new variants of COVID-19 emerge.
“I want nothing more than to send my kids back to school," Valdez said. "They need and would love to have that social interaction, but their safety also has to come first."
Some parents say it is especially frustrating seeing other districts, like Indianapolis Public Schools, require masks for everyone who has not been vaccinated, while their district only recommends them.
As of now, it is up to each school district in Indiana to decide if they will require masks in the fall. Leaders with the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township say they plan to follow the guidance of the Marion County Public Health Department.