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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – As the new school year for the Rockwood School District starts Monday, many parents voiced their opinions for and against the mask mandate in effect.

Rockwood School District is the largest school district in St. Louis.

Many parents feel wearing masks is ok for those who want to but for their children they shouldn’t have to be forced.

“No one is trying to ban masks, we just want the choice,” said Rockwood School District Parent, Molly, “Tonight my daughter went to her orientation at school and all the teachers were doing was walking around pull your mask up, mask, mask, mask, mask…It’s like a dictatorship, they don’t even enjoy it, how about welcome?”

Molly’s daughter, Taylor. Has claustrophobia and it’s making her nervous for classes.

“I can get a ten-day suspension from school and I don’t think that’s fair because I’m going to school to learn and I want to actually communicate with people and see their faces,” Rockwood School District student Taylor said.

The feelings are mutual for younger students as well.

“Last year was really hard, I have bad anxiety about masks and it’s so much worse when I put it on… I mean I come home feeling nauseous because I have to wear it for seven straight days,” elementary student Maggie said.

But even though they’re making their voices heard, Rockwood School District continues to believe masks are best for all.

And parents agree.

“That’s why we have experts, we trust them. It’s what we learn in this institution, this school, we learn science, we learn from experts, we build upon the knowledge that was generated before us,” Rockwood School District parent Matt Wind said. “What we have here is a complete disregard for knowledge.”

The debate continues inside where parents from both sides share.

“It’s the right choice, the most sacred choice, and the safest choice to protect all children of the district including my three grandchildren,” said one public commenter in favor of the mask mandate.

The school district will be enforcing masks for in school across all school levels.

“You are all well aware there is harm being done, you are ignoring that risk,” said one public commenter opposing the mandate.

Those against the mandate acknowledge their opposition falls on deaf ears but voice them anyway.

Something the school hears but will not change.

Rockwood School District’s administration will be monitoring the COVID numbers over the year. The mask mandate may change later on depending on the situation.