The students of MES wearing masks minimally throughout the day.

The students of MES wearing masks minimally throughout the day.

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Kerri Barella started this petition to Marlborough School District

The uncertainty of this pandemic has played a massive role in our children lives over the past few months. With the confirmation of the returning to school, full time, the end of August, it is our due diligence, as parents, to ensure our children flourish as they continue their education. There are a multitude of recommended protocols that school districts across the nation will be implementing. A few examples are 1) touchless doors, faucets, paper towel holders 2) social distancing where possible (less students to a classroom to maintain desks at 6 ft apart) 3) the option to continue distance learning and last but not least 4) mask wearing. 

Mask wearing within our schools for majority of the day would be detrimental to our children's health and well being. It is understandable and reasonable to require the mask when social distancing is not possible, however for the children to wear them majority of the school day it creates a multitude of issues. The first and foremost is - it is unknown of the long term effects of wearing a mask for such a duration at a such a young age. The possibility of reduced oxygen and increased CO2 inhalation in our children is terrifying from the point of view of the parents who have signed this petition. Secondly, the amount of non verbal communication that is provided through facial expressions will be completely repressed through mask wearing.  Thirdly, should there be an allergic reaction, one of the first tell tale signs is around the mouth (swollen, itchy, rash). This will be covered and thus will remain unknown to the teacher, or other school employee who will have the children in their care. Additionally it should be noted, if our children will be eating lunch WITHIN the classroom, surely they will have to remove their masks to eat. If removal of a mask within a classroom is okay for eating and drinking, it should be allowed to remain off while they are seated at their desks.  And last, but not least since there will be medical exemptions allowed, children who are exempt will stand out to everyone, thus revealing the inclusiveness we have worked to achieve for so many years, not to mention those with disabilities and speech issues. OTHER ARRANGEMENTS (SUCH AS PLEXIGLASS AROUND DESKS) CAN BE IMPLEMENTED TO AVOID COVERING OUR CHILDREN'S FACES WITH A MASK. Creating this sense of constantly being covered while in school is sure to create anxiety within our children. 

There is no reason why, if all the appropriate measures are taken to distance children, we should also require them to wear a mask while learning. The amount of distraction the mask will provide to the classroom cohort, both from students and staff, will far out weigh any real learning that happens within the classroom. Yes, there will be outdoor breaks. Yes, there will be moments they can remove them- but that is not enough. Who will be regulating the masks over their faces? What happens when it becomes wet from snot, or saliva, or dirty from the ketchup after their lunch? A wet mask will prove even harder to breathe through, especially in the hot months in classrooms without air conditioning. Our children deserve better and should be wearing a mask at a minimum not a maximum. WEAR THE MAS MASK WHEN SOCIAL DISTANCING IS NOT ALLOWED, SUCH AS IN HIGH TRAFFIC AREAS AND DURING ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL, BUT NOT FOR THE DURATION OF THE SCHOOL DAY WITHIN THE CLASSROOM. We, as parents, stand together to represent our children as we move forward with schooling.

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