Local elementary students hold sit out over mask mandate


BERLIN, N.Y. (NEWS10) — While mask mandates have been lifted for many in New York State, but for others, the requirement is not going anywhere. For those ages 2 to 11, who cannot be vaccinated and in settings like schools, dealing with masks is still an everyday reality.

Jackson Goodermote and his brother say they don’t want to wear masks in school anymore. Their mother, Vallis, supports their decision.

“When one son went to board the bus, he was told he couldn’t ride on the bus,” said Vallis Goodermote. “And when the other son — I dropped him off at school, he was able to get in the building, but then he was quickly told he needed to leave or put his mask on.”

Instead, they set up lawn chairs and a folding table outside on the front lawn of Berlin Elementary School, holding a sit-out. Their reasoning: low rates of COVID-19 in children.

“The staff and the teachers have also had the opportunity to be vaccinated. And so we feel everybody should be able to unmask at the school,” explained Goodermote.

Joseph Dhara, Berlin School Superintendent, said while parents rights are respected, the school also respects and follows the law. He released a statement saying, in part:

“Although the mask mandate has been lifted in part effective May 19, 2021, it has not been lifted for pre-K to grade 12 schools, and has not been lifted for persons who are not fully vaccinated against COVID 19. All of our students at Berlin Elementary School, where the “sit out” is occurring, are not vaccinated against COVID 19, due to their age.  The safety and health of our students and employees remains our top priority.”

Thursday night, the New York State Department of Health told NEWS10 ABC something similar stating, in part: “While vaccination efforts continue, additional mitigation measures recommended by the CDC-such as mask wearing, social distancing, screening and testing-continue to be critical.”

“Jackson plans to sit out until the governor or the lawmakers or the school allow him back into the school with no mask on,” said Goodermote.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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