NEWTOWN TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A 9-year-old girl battling cancer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania may no longer be able to attend school in person this fall. Her mother says she does not feel comfortable sending her kids to class due to a lack of a mask mandate in the district.
"She is at a really high risk. If she returns to school and there's no mask mandate, there's no distancing, there's also no contact tracing or reporting of cases, there's no way for me to know if she's been exposed to anything," said Carolyn's mom, Elizabeth Austin.
Carolyn has been battling Leukemia since June 2020.
The mask-optional rules currently in place for the Council Rock District leave Austin with no choice but to pull her daughter out of school.
"I thought maybe I'd get a chance to see my friends and my teachers because I haven't even met them yet. Then, when mom told me I might not be able to go back to school, I was feeling really upset," Carolyn said.
Austin says her older son Jack will likely also have to home school for 6th grade. Her concern is that even if Jack wears a mask, he could bring coronavirus home.
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"It seems like a huge sacrifice that certain families are having to make for a mild comfort for others," said Austin.
For some parents, like Jonathan Seamens, the lack of a mask mandate is a relief.
"There are no plans in place to turn back and make it a mask mandate in schools," said Seamens.
He has an incoming 9th grader and 7th grader in the district. They won't be wearing masks in school.
"The complaints ranged from headaches, uncomfortableness, trouble communicating," said Seamens. "I feel like the health decisions that go along with that are decisions that should be made within a family or a family with a trusted medical advisor, and not made by a school board or state legislature."
The Council Rock school district says masks are optional for students. The County Health Department says it can advise districts on what to do, but can not mandate policy.
In the state legislature, there's a mask-choice battle going on.
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Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano is sponsoring a bill to require school boards to allow parents to opt-out of a mask mandate.
"I want to leave it in the hands of the parents," he said.
While Democratic State Senator Anthony Williams of the 8th district is proposing a bill stating parents who opt-out of health measures could be held liable if illness or death occurs to another child in class.
"If you don't want to wear a mask, that's your business. If I get contaminated because you don't want to wear a mask, then there's a consequence," said Williams.
Williams is looking for co-sponsors on the bill now.