Parents protest mask mandate

School boards latest target of ire
August 18, 2021

Milton resident Chris Lovenguth has had enough with the mask mandate.

“It’s mandate madness in Delaware,” he said. “People don’t have a voice, and they feel like they don’t have a voice.”

Lovenguth said he plans to attend the Cape Henlopen school board meeting Aug. 19, along with about 50 other parents. 

“They just try to wear you down,” Lovenguth said about Gov. John Carney’s latest mandate requiring everyone in public and private schools to wear a mask this school year. “I’m going to go and speak my piece.”

James Davidson, a member of Patriots for Delaware, a political action group that held a rally in Smyrna Aug. 11 attended by hundreds, said parents across the state are concerned about the mask mandate.

“Patriots for Delaware love our kids, and our schools, but at this point the parents are the ones that are taking the lead,” he said.

Most attendees of a Red Clay Consolidated school board meeting Aug. 18 reportedly spoke in favor of no masks, and vocal parents, who attended the Aug. 17 Caesar Rodney school board meeting, caused the board to take a 20-minute recess over what to do about unmasked parents in the CR high school auditorium. A day earlier, the Brandywine school board ended a meeting early because of unmasked audience members.

At Delmarva Christian, Head of Schools Matt Kwiatkowski and board President Marlene Brown sent an email Aug. 14 saying the school would not abide by Carney’s mask mandate.

“Regarding the governor’s mask mandate for students, it is one of individual responsibility,” they wrote in an email shared with the Cape Gazette. “Therefore, DCS will leave this decision in the hands of parents and adults.”

Kwiatkowski could not be reached for comment.

Delaware Code’s Title 20, subchapter V on a public health emergency does not specifically outline government powers over private schools. Section 3131 of the law, however, finds that the rights of people to liberty, bodily integrity and privacy must be respected to the fullest extent possible, and the law must be guided by the principles of justice. “It is the duty of this state to act with fairness and tolerance toward individuals and groups.”

Stephanie DeMalto, spokeswoman for the Cape Henlopen School District, said there is no sign-up for public comment at the meeting because Superintendent Robert Fulton intends to speak about COVID protocols for the 2021-22 school year.

She said topics will include but not be limited to mitigation strategies, COVID data/positive cases, vaccination efforts, quarantining and extracurricular activities.

“Since this is an agenda item, individuals will not have to sign up to address the board ahead of time,” she said. “They will have an opportunity to provide comments after he presents information on the topic, and board members have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.”

The board meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 19, at the Sussex Consortium School, 17344 Sweetbriar Road, Lewes.

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