ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — After careful consideration and consulting with medical experts, the Enterprise City School Board announced they will be requiring masks for all teachers, staff, and students. However, some parents say they just want to be able to choose whether or not their child masks up.

The Enterprise City School board meeting hall was filled with parents who opposed the decision to enforce masks for their children, arguing that having their kids wear masks will only impact them in a negative way.

“I just wanted to be able to advocate for my kids, who haven’t had a chance to stand up for what they feel and what they want,” Amber Salmon, mother of five said. “We had a discussion around the dinner table about masks and how that affected their school year and they didn’t have anything positive to say about them.”

The decision made by Superintendent Dr. Zell Thomas and the Enterprise School Board comes after Coffee and all other counties in the Wiregrass have seen an increase of positive COVI-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Dr. Thomas said he is following CDC guidelines to ensure kids stay in classrooms and don’t lose out on any sense of normalcy.

“This is not anything we want to do, but this is something we feel like we have to do in order to keep our kids here,” Dr. Thomas said. “Without it, we would have to quarantine kids. Last year we had to quarantine over 15,00 kids. That was a lot of lost days of instruction they missed about approximately ten days each, for each time they were out.

Thomas added this mandate will be only temporary and not something put in place for the entire school year.

“I think they just overstepped it a little bit by making everybody have to wear the mask, I still think it should be a personal choice if you think there is a risk there, you should have that choice,” Travis Parker, grandfather of ECS student said.

Dr. Thomas wants to emphasize that this decision was made solely to ensure all students stay in the classroom all year long. He said enforcing masks will help students avoid having to return to virtual learning and result in as normal a school year as possible.