Make Masks Mandatory for Cherry Creek School District

Make Masks Mandatory for Cherry Creek School District

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!

CCSD Parents for Science-Based Practice started this petition to Cherry Creek School District Board of Directors and Superintendent

We, the undersigned parents and community members of Cherry Creek School District, as affirmed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (2) and United States Centers for Disease Control (1), petition the Board and affiliated leadership to institute a masking requirement for students and staff until all K-12 students are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Masks are the safest and most effective prevention strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19 (12), but their effectiveness is drastically reduced or eliminated when group members do not wear them (13). Masks work by reducing the likelihood that contagious individuals will spread disease to the people around them (12). Their efficacy as a personal protection for the wearer is limited (14). Masking requirements--not recommendations--are the only way to benefit from them as a protection strategy.

Requiring masks was proven to be an effective strategy last year for reducing infection rates to keep kids healthy, and holding schools open to keep kids learning (15). Guidance from the AAP, CDC, and local children’s healthcare providers is unequivocal that “this fall, everyone should wear a mask in schools regardless of vaccination status' (17; see also 2, 16). Issuing a mask recommendation rather than requirement for the beginning of the school year ignores scientific best practice and puts our youngest children at extreme risk.

According to a local child psychologist and multiple CCSD parents (4), placing the burden of choosing to wear a mask for their own safety upon a child’s shoulders can and already has opened them up to bullying and ostracism within CCSD programs. Without a requirement, almost no children in CCSD’s summer care programs choose to wear a mask (4), and those who do are often mocked (4). Children, especially children too young to have the option to be vaccinated, need the adults in their lives to set boundaries that protect them physically, mentally, and socially (18).

It is dishonest and disingenuous for Superintendent Smith to claim that the responsibility for requiring masks lies with the Tri-County Health Department. TCHD representatives have reiterated to our group members over the phone on more than a dozen different calls (5) that school districts within TCHD’s catchment are both able and encouraged to require masking. TCHD themselves said in a letter to district superintendents that “TCHD urges the implementation of universal masking policies in schools as an effective mitigation strategy to support safe in-person learning with limited interruption due to cases and outbreaks” (19).

Covid cases among children are currently rising drastically, increasing 84% nationally within the last week (6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11). Further, the delta strain that makes up over 95% of today’s cases in Colorado is several times more contagious than previous strains, with estimates that each contagious person will infect between 5 and 8 others, vaccinated or not (20). Every covid infection in a child carries the risk of permanent heart and lung scarring, multi-system inflammatory damage, or death, with thousands of covid-positive children in the US already diagnosed with the frightening condition MIS-C (21).

We strongly urge the CCSD Board of Directors to align their return-to-school guidelines with doctors, public health experts, school districts such as Jeffco and DPS, major employers, and cities all over the country who are willing to put political drama aside and listen to facts. The science is unequivocal: Make masks mandatory in schools. Anything less is a slap in the face to the sacrifices our students, teachers, medical providers, and families have continuously made to protect themselves and their communities over the last year and a half.

CCSD Parents for Science-Based Practice
8/4/2021

Sources:

(1) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance.html
(2) https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/
(3) Prioritize the Health and Safety of Students, School Personnel, and Families | U.S. Department of Education
(4) Personal communications, 8/4/2021; copies with names redacted available upon request.
(5) Personal communications, 8/4/2021; notes with callers’ names redacted available upon request.
(6) St. Louis health leaders warn of COVID-19 increase in kids (kshb.com)
(7) Secretary of Health: Nearly 19% of active COVID-19 cases in Arkansas are among children | Fayetteville Flyer
(8 ) Children Lead In COVID Cases As McLean County Reaches 'High' Transmission | WGLT
(9) Palm Beach County pediatrician seeing 'huge surge' in COVID-19 cases among children (wptv.com)
(10) Covid Cases Among Children Jumped 84% Last Week—Here Are The States Where Kid Hospitalizations Are Increasing (forbes.com)
(11) Child COVID Cases Increasing by ‘Substantial’ Amount (webmd.com)
(12) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/art-20485449
(13) https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01394-0
(14) https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/face-masks-including-surgical-masks-and-respirators-covid-19
(15) https://www.cherrycreekschools.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=85&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=37050&PageID=1
(16) Letter from Children’s Hospital Colorado Asthma and Allergy Clinic to CCSD parent, 7/31/2021.
(17) White House social media infographic; shared to Facebook and Instagram 7/27/2021.
(18) Letter from Children’s Hospital Colorado physician Lawrence Schwartz, MD; shared 8/4/2021; copy available upon request.
(19) Letter to area superintendents from Tri-County Health Department; shared 8/4/2021; copy available upon request.
(20) https://www.npr.org/2021/07/29/1022580439/a-cdc-internal-report-says-the-delta-variant-is-more-transmissible-than-a-cold

(21) https://www.cdc.gov/mis/cases/index.html

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!