In response to the speakers, Abuismail questioned the effectiveness of face coverings in stopping the spread of the virus and said the decision to wear a mask or not should be entirely up to the individual.
“If people would put their faith in God instead of a mask or a piece of fabric, things would be a little better,” he said.
Marc Broklawski, a Spotsylvania parent affiliated with Safe Spotsy Schools, said more tests need to be administered to determine the true prevalence of COVID-19.
“We’re averaging 150 tests in a county with a population of 136,000,” Broklawski said. “That doesn’t tell what’s really happening.”
Kathleen Taylor, a Spotsylvania teacher, said if the division requires teachers to return when they don’t feel safe, many will choose to quit, exacerbating an existing teacher shortage. She said a classroom with COVID-19 mitigation procedures in place will not look like a traditional classroom and is “not worth the risk.”
Taylor also said that if schools do reopen, they might have to close again if there is a COVID-19 outbreak, and that would negatively affect the students with special needs or lack of internet access who are currently receiving in-person education.
Many speakers in support of reopening the schools were affiliated with Open Spotsylvania Schools—a campaign organized by two parents with children in the division.