IPS requiring unvaccinated students to mask up; parents opinions vary

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Students and staff who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear masks this fall at Indianapolis Public Schools.

Masks will be optional for those who are fully vaccinated. Vaccinated staff and students aged 12 or older can opt out of wearing a mask, by voluntarily providing proof of vaccination.

Opinions among parents about these new rules differ. Some have concerns about these protocols while others say they’re glad to see it.

In just a couple weeks, Tara Elder’s two children will start the new school year at IPS.

“I was very excited. I was very pleased that they are going to be staying more strict than some of the other schools are in the city, and staying with more strict mask policies,” Elder said.

Before they set foot back in the classroom, they and other IPS students will have to abide by the district’s new COVID-19 safety protocols.

While only unvaccinated students must wear a face mask, IPS recommends all staff and students mask up while indoors.

“I really like that, because if gives people the privacy,” Elder said. “If they don’t want to show any proof of their vaccination status, they don’t have to. Just war a mask. That’s fine.”

Jane Pyecha also has two children in the IPS school system.

“I take issue with the voluntary. I’m a huge believer that we need to have a vaccine passport or whatever you want to call it, similar to all the other vaccinations that we have to have. I don’t see the difference, I really don’t,” Pyecha said.

“I appreciate that [the protocols are] updated. The new variants make me very nervous and I’m not sure that I agree, in fact, I know I don’t agree, with the voluntary mask mandate. I don’t want to put my child’s health in the safety of somebody else, the safety of another parent. or child. I would prefer for everyone to have to wear a mask.”

The first day of school is Aug. 2.

Click here to see the full IPS COVID-19 policy.