Community members argue over masks at Bay District School Board meeting

Local News

PANAMA CITY, FLA, (WMBB) — Dozens of community members attended the Bay District School Board meeting to give their opinion on masks. Currently, there is no mask mandate, and Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said there are no current plans to implement a mask mandate for students or staff.

“I’m the one that wanted all the employees to wear masks,” Husfelt said. “And so the board voted not to do that. I have never been one to think that our students should be wearing masks. I’ve just read and read and read and I still just don’t see that masks are effective for children.”

While some parents, doctors, and medical students came to talk, and give support to masks in schools, most parents are not in favor of mask mandates, Husfelt said.

“While I respect everybody’s opinion, I just know that our community, our parents, do not, by a large number, want their children wearing masks,” Husfelt said. “They just don’t.”

The only way that Husfelt said he could see masks being implemented is through another COVID spike in the area.

“I don’t see masks coming up soon again as far as maybe them wearing it,” Husfelt said. “I don’t want to see another spike. But God forbid we get that, that’s when it would come up again.”

People who spoke against a mask mandate waved American flags and held signs to protest. Across the aisle in the Nelson Building, doctors in favor of masks wore their lab coats and masks. 

“Before January of this year, so December all the way back to January of 2020, one out of eight Americans was infected with the COVID virus,” Dr. Ahmad Rifai said. “And one out of 61 of those infected, actually died and passed away because of that virus.”

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