By J.D. Miles

PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – With 1,100 students currently battling COVID-19 in Plano ISD, there were pleas Tuesday night, Jan. 11 to require face masks.

Students told CBS 11, COVID-19 is having a major negative impact on their education because so many teachers are out sick with no substitutes available.

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It’s just one of the reasons a pro-mask group made a strong push for them at this meeting.

“Even just today there are so many teachers, five teachers in our own science department that are out with COVID and they don’t have enough substitutes and so we were crammed into a common area,” said Plano East Senior High student Simon Salinas.

The 17-year-old came to the Plano ISD board meeting to argue for a face mask requirement in schools.

“I feel very emotional when I walk down a hallway and see no one wearing a mask,” he said. “It’s impacted a big part of my life and I don’t want it to impact anyone else’s.”

The high school senior said his grandparents both died of COVID-19 only a month apart.

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But those like Salinas who pushed for a mask mandate at Tuesday’s school board meeting were met with just as many who are opposed to it, like Karri Weadon and her two kids.

“When they had to wear a mask they came home crying because of headaches and they couldn’t breathe very well,” said Weadon. “I promised them they would never wear a mask again once we got rid of the mandate.”

Parents of special needs students like Robin Fuller say a face mask interferes with her son’s speech therapy.

“Now that we have a vaccine, I want my child to get the education he deserves,” said Fuller. “For him specifically that means no mask.”

The school board did not take any action on the mask issue because it was not on the agenda, but board members did discuss a recruiting plan for substitute teachers.

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The district was down 190 teachers on Tuesday.