Local school board and other state representatives,
I would like to advocate for the education rights of my children. My students will be entering 12th, 8th, and 8th grades this fall. I believe traditional school is what is best for both their educational needs as well as their emotional needs. However mandatory masks for 7 hours a day would be potentially damaging to their physical health. An extensive list of amendments to the traditional classroom experience would also be damaging to their mental health. Students need the safe, comfortable, stress free routine that they are used to. Physical barriers, lack of social interactions, and forced coverings will permanently scar the life chances of an entire generation of young people. If such amendments will be made, mandatory, and enforced with punishment I believe families should be offered the choice of alternative education, ie virtual learning.
School buildings are places where our children first run around, learn to share, play and laugh. School settings are critical in providing learning opportunities in regards to social settings and learning key social skills needed in order to thrive in society. Schools are so often a childs safest place, with teachers who encourage, love, and accept them. School buildings provide protection, a sense of normalcy, academic opportunities, food, special education services and therapies, social work services, therapeutic recreation, and counseling services.
Virtual learning generally works well only for high achieving self motivated students and with students who have considerable family support at home. Lack of technology and high speed internet access are two widespread disadvantages. However those are easily remedied with school purchased chromebooks and companies providing low cost access to internet with possible district payment assistance. While I offer much appreciation and grace to our educators I do believe our district failed in virtual learning in comparison to what was offered and required from other nearby districts. Virtual learning only works if students are required to be online, view actual live lessons, submit work daily for each class, if students and teachers have proper communication, if work required is closely equivalent to work in the classroom. My students did not have that experience.
The long term effects of mask wearing for prolonged periods of time are unknown at this time. What we do know now is that wearing a face mask is an alien behavior to the body. A mask burdens breathing and forces a person inhale a reduced amount of oxygen and inhale an increased amount of co2. Masks worsen copd and asthma when enhanced breathing in an effort to increase oxygen pushes viral loads into lungs. Harmful effects to the lungs are amplified when the masks become contaminated. Masks become contaminated with sweat, makeup, pollen, dust, moisture, and many other particles floating in the air trapping them inside the mask to continually inhale into the lungs. Disposable masks must be changed frequently to lower chances of contamination and increase efficacy. Reusable masks must be properly laundered on a regular basis. How many students have access to a years supply of disposable masks or access to a properly laundered and stored reusable mask? I would venture to say thats a slim number. Masks can cause skin rashes, allergies, itchiness and redness. A rash is a symptom of covid. How will you distinguish between a mask rash and a covid rash? Teachers are being asked to teach, clean, screen, and remind children frequently to “tighten their masks” around their noses. Unless that teacher instructs my child to wash their hands before touching their mask to adjust it that teacher has just forced contamination on my childs face. A dramatic increase of germs transferred from hands to face to adjust and fidget with mask will undoubtedly occur. Masks are widely used by health care professionals who are trained throughout years of schooling to eliminate touching their face or masks. A current outbreak at a womens prison in Kentucky is proof positive that improper mask usage doesn’t contain virus spread. Students like mine who wear eye glasses will have their sight impeded every moment throughout the day as air creates fog on the lenses. Applying dish soap to reduce the fog also leaves a film on the prescription glass therefore decreasing the effectiveness of the prescribed corrective lens. Furthermore the prolonged denial of full oxygen cripples the bodies ability to fight off infection therefore crippling the greatest arsenal children have for optimal health, their natural immune system.
Children are least likely to contract this virus and their likelihood of serious illness resulting in poor outcome is even less. The virus in Kentucky alone has a 97% survival rate. In Gallatin County 65 residents have tested positive, with all but 15 of them within the healthcare facility. 65 out of 8,870 residents in our community. Nation wide day cares that remained open, either to essential healthcare workers children or pubic care, few cases and closures occurred, spread was very limited and rare. Many other countries have already reopened their schools with little to no resurgence. Some with masks, some without. With no substantial difference in positivity rates.
I strongly believe our schools can open safely and that our children need our schools and our staff. I strongly believe that masks are not proven to be safe and that families should have a choice as to whether they wear them or not. I strongly believe our district is capable of offering a better virtual learning platform and that families should have a choice as to what education they feel is best for their child at this current time. I strongly believe that students be permitted to participate in sports and clubs whether they are enrolled in in class or virtual learning.
Mostly I believe a child’s job is to learn, grow, and thrive in childhood. Please give each family a choice as to how best to do that.