Some Wake County parents seek added, equitable COVID-19 protections in schools

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A group of Wake County parents is calling for more COVID-19 protocol in schools.

The parents — about 90 of them — met virtually Monday evening to discuss the three main steps they want to see taken: outdoor lunches and snacks, air purifiers in all classrooms, and for the district to opt-in to the state’s COVID-19 testing program.

Christina Jones is a member of the group. She became concerned with the rise in COVID-19 cases in the community, so she purchased two standing HEPA air purifiers, one for each of her daughter’s classrooms at Brier Creek Elementary School.

“At the time it made me feel good, and then I realized ‘oh wait they still have the lunchroom that they go to, that they eat without masks with all the other kids,’ how do we solve that,” Jones said. “And that’s part of what the group that met this afternoon we’re trying to help answer, and help ask the questions to help get the funding.”

Justin Parisi and other parents in his child’s third-grade class also purchased an air purifier for the classroom. He said parents at Douglas Elementary School also donated picnic tables.

The group wants all schools to have the same protections, paid for with emergency relief funding for schools from the federal government. They said leaving it up to parents creates inequities.

“Not every school can do this, not every classroom can do this,” Parisi said. “So we want to have guarantees that there won’t be inequities across the schools, we want everyone to be protected as equally.”

A spokesperson for the district said they’re planning for all schools to have outdoor dining options and are in the process of purchasing those supplies. All classrooms in the district have MERV-13 filters, according to the spokesperson.

Both parents are glad the schools worked with them to put the purifiers in the classroom. Parisi said the group wants to work with the district too.

“We spent a whole year in virtual, we did have time to see something that was coming,” Jones said. “So, I want to see some leadership and taking proactive action to make sure our kids have a safe learning environment.”

The Wake County School Board is meeting Tuesday to discuss an outdoor mask mandate, as well as routine testing for unvaccinated student-athletes and staff.

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