Oklahoma Third Grader Asks Governor to 'Help Make Schools Safer' by Allowing Mask Mandates

A third-grade student from Oklahoma has sent a plea for mask mandates to her state's governor, Republican Kevin Stitt. Mona Brown, 8, sent a hand-written letter to the governor on Wednesday, expressing concern for herself and her friends as COVID-19 cases rise in the Sooner State, Fox 25 reported.

"I worry about me and my friends getting COVID," Brown wrote. "And I am going to miss my first day of intermediate school because I don't feel safe at a school without masks right now. I'm asking you to help make schools safer for kids. Please allow schools to require masks."

The Oklahoma State government recently passed Senate Bill 658. This bill prevents school districts from issuing mask mandates unless Stitt declares a state of emergency. It is a similar restriction on mask mandates for schools to those passed in other Republican-led states, particularly in Florida.

"This is about personal responsibility, this is about freedoms," Governor Stitt previously said about the bill while it was in the process of being passed.

kevin stitt oklahoma masks
A third grader has written a letter to Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt pleading for mask mandates in schools. In this photo, Stitt speaks during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Also reminiscent of these other states, school districts in Oklahoma have begun to defy this bill and implement mask mandates anyway. The Oklahoma City Public School district, for example, began requiring masks for all students and staff members, regardless of vaccination status, on Monday.

"Today I have made the decision to adopt a new regulation that will also require face coverings to be worn on school property, in school vehicles and at school-sponsored events regardless of vaccination status," superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniels said in a letter to parents about the mandate.

Newsweek has reached out to Governor Stitt and his office for a response to Brown's letter.

"It's in her voice, it's how she feels," Derek Brown, Mona's father, told Fox 25. "I would just hope that if Governor Stitt reads the letter and that he feels a little empathy towards kids like her that have had a really rough year and a half."

"I'm pretty sure lots of kids feel like this," Mona told the station.

Oklahoma is classified among the higher tiers for new COVID-19 cases per capita, according to the CDC. According to the center's data, the state has seen 12,487 new cases in the last week, which is approximately 315 cases per 100,000 residents.

While experts still agree that children are less susceptible to COVID-19 and unlikely to develop severe symptoms, they are not completely immune. Children can also still carry the virus, picking it up from teachers or family and passing it along to other, potentially at-risk adults. Additionally, no vaccines have been approved for children younger than 12.