Some Oklahoma students will have to pay $1 to buy a new mask if they don’t have one when they get to class, as part of a school district’s effort to fight Covid-19.
“We have been very accommodating and patient with students as they continue to arrive to school without a mask. We have issued reusable masks countless times to our students but now they have depleted our resources,” the post said.
If they don’t have money with them, the students will have to call a parent or guardian and ask them to bring a mask or a dollar to buy a new one.
Broken Bow is in the southeast corner of Oklahoma in McCurtain County, which borders Arkansas and Texas. The county has had 3,376 confirmed Covid-19 cases and reported 15 new cases on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Broken Bow High School Principal Luke Hanks told CNN that about 900 students attend his school and Rector Johnson Middle School and that the schools have gone through about 30,000 masks this school year.
They’ve given out many reusable masks, but Hanks said some students end up leaving them in their cars or forgetting them at home and coming back for a new one the next day.
Individual teachers get to decide whether masks are required in their classrooms, so a student may only have to wear a mask one or two periods each day, Hanks said.
Some were coming back two or three times a day because they’d lost or thrown away their masks between classes.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health recommended that all school teachers and essential public workers wear face coverings in an August 13 public health advisory.
Hanks said they’re not trying to punish kids, but he hopes it will teach them to be responsible and keep up with their things.
“I tell some of them, if you’re required to wear them for work, what’s going to happen if you don’t have one in the real world,” he said.
Hanks said that they haven’t gotten any complaints from parents or the community, but he did get a call from a man who offered to donate masks after he heard about the policy.
The policy has only been in place for three days, but Hanks said it seems to be working.
They went from giving out 100 masks a day to fewer than 10 on Wednesday.
Hanks said that any money collected will be used to buy new masks, but that his bigger concern is lost instructional time.
He said going to the office to get a new mask might take five minutes, and then they disrupt the other students when they come back to class.
“We need kids in the classroom,” he said. “While we have in-person classes, we need to maximize every minute we have with our kids.”