The meeting was held on Tuesday night in Rutherford County, Tennesse, where a board was discussing whether schools should have mask mandates amid rising Covid-19 cases and the return of in-person classes.
In the video, a student explained why wearing a mask could prevent the spread of Covid-19, especially to his older family members that are more vulnerable to the disease. "If I get COVID, I’m going to bring it to my family and I talk to my grandparents a lot,” the student said.
He then went on to say that his grandmother, who was a former teacher, died after contracting Covid-19. "This time last year, my grandmother, who was a former teacher at the Rutherford County school system, died of COVID because someone wasn’t wearing a mask."
After that comment, a woman carrying a sign that said “Let our kids smile” laughed and shook her head while others heckled and interrupted the student’s speech.
The school board had intended to vote on whether there should be a mask mandate, or whether the decision should be left to parents. Despite the three-hour meeting, the board said more research is needed before it votes.
The meeting came as 1,000 students in Rutherford County tested positive for Covid-19, forcing 10,000 other students to quarantine.
Across the country, schools are being forced to close because of Covid-19 infections among students. While some governors are ordering mask mandates, others are saying the choice should be left to parents.
Throughout the pandemic, numerous studies have shown that masks work in preventing the spread of Covid-19. Children under the age of 12 are ineligible to get the vaccine, so masking, social distancing, and hand-washing continue to be key steps to prevent a Covid-19 infection.
"This is an avoidable issue and by not wearing masks in schools, it’s irresponsible," the student said.