WASHINGTON — At the Washington school board meeting on Tuesday, Tina Montz shared thoughts other district parents have voiced.
In the letter to the board members, Montz questions the district’s decisions surrounding the return-to-learn play, stating it does not take into consideration the students’ mental health.
“It just seems like you’re so focused on keeping things, in your minds, physically safe, but you’re forgetting a very important part too - mental health,” Montz said.
Montz said fear has taken over, and she should have looked to move her children to a different school this year.
Other decisions the school made that Montz felt was inconsiderate to the younger students was the cancellation of the homecoming parade and Halloween dress-up.
For homecoming, she said it was baffling the school approved the homecoming dance but canceled the parade.
“Isn’t that parade route larger than the cattle barn,” she said. “I’m pretty sure those wishing to see the parade could have socially distanced themselves very well along that route.”
For Halloween, Montz said kids are not allowed to dress up due to health and safety concerns but are still going to hold Halloween parties in the classrooms.
She said Principals Adam Miller and Teresa Beenblossom said they felt it was a better decision to be all or none, but she said having parties is not all or none.
“It seems like between a homecoming parade and Halloween it’s the younger kids who are suffering the most, and the ones most vulnerable,” she said.
Other questions Montz brought up regarded student lunches and returning to normal.
Montz said it is great that students can eat for free until the end of the year but questioned who is feeding the students who have to stay home for 14 days because of exposure quarantine.
She said when her child was home for seven days due to an exposure, her husband was able to work from home one day, but she had to stay home for two days without pay and take her child to work with her for one day.
Montz said she asked Superintendent Willie Stone if the school had a schedule to return to normal.
As an example she said if the school is in Stage 1 now but maintains below a certain number of cases, kids can remove masks for 10 minutes each hour to see what happens.
“Sometimes we need to think outside the box and be the first one to work toward change,” she said.
Montz said her son wants to go to another school or be home-schooled. She said having to wear a mask, being confined to a classroom and only having one recess is having a negative impact on him.
“He doesn’t have the sad depression he has the anger side toward his brother, sister and parents,” she said.
A recommendation she made was allowing each class to have an additional recess every three days before school.
“Only two things keep me even wanting to enroll in Washington right now: bus convenience and kids’ friends,” Montz said.