MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the dog days of summer sizzle on, school was likely far from families’ minds at the Twins game. That changed when 9-year-old Olin Knutson was informed that it’s possible he’ll need to wear a mask again to go to school.

“I don’t want to go another year (with) just pure mask sweatiness,” he said, annoyed.

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It’s a steamy sacrifice his mother hopes he’s ready to make if their school district requires it.

“It makes sense. They don’t want to spread the virus,” Jamie Knutson said.

She and other parents outside Target Field want to make sure their kids are actually in a classroom this fall.

“If that means masking, that’d be my preference over other alternatives that have them learning at home,” Nathan Laible, of Golden Valley, said. “It’s just a better learning experience in all sorts of ways for them to be there.”

In-person learning brings about social interaction students missed from a distance, while also easing the stress at home.

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“It’s really hard on parents and also, like, we’re not teachers,” said Jamie Knutson.

The school year begins in about five weeks, the same time frame it would take the Pfizer vaccine to fully protect someone 12 years old and up from COVID-19. But whether people get that shot in the arm or cover their face, it’s a decision some feel shouldn’t be forced by schools.

“If (parents) want to send their kid to school with a mask, do it. If you don’t, if you feel like your child’s gonna learn more without it, I think it’s totally up to the families at this point,” Cassy Playle, of Isanti, said.

A Minneapolis Public Schools spokesperson said the district “is currently reviewing all of the new guidance and recommendations coming out around masks and other COVID-19 safety measures. We are working in partnership with our regional support team to develop plans for this fall, which should be finalized in the next few weeks. “

However, Education Minnesota, the teachers’ union, has already taken its stance. The union released a statement saying, in part:

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“’Educators believe safe, equitable in-person instruction should be available to every Minnesota student this fall,’ said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. ‘Right now, the best way we can see to the achieve that goal, while keeping our schools and communities safe, is to consistently and rigorously follow the guidance from state health officials and the CDC.’ Specht acknowledged that many students and educators, especially those who have already been vaccinated, will be disappointed by the Minnesota Department of Health’s recommendations. However, Specht noted that the department, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics are unanimous in recommending that educators, staff and students wear masks at school, unless a medical or developmental condition prohibits their use.”

Jeff Wagner