Mask Choice for Southern Chester County Children
Mask Choice for Southern Chester County Children
MASK CHOICE FOR OUR CHILDREN
(no donations; signatures needed)
Avon Grove School District
We, a concerned community of parents and caregivers in Southern Chester County Pennsylvania, come together regarding the prolonged masking of our children in schools and the choice that has been taken away from parents and caregivers to have the final say on the physical and emotional well-being of our children.
To assume that all kids are “fine” and “have adjusted well” to wearing masks is a dangerous assumption if not properly monitored or qualified. There are serious repercussions to child development when they and others around them are wearing masks. We, as their parents and caregivers have personally witnessed the devastating effects prolonged mask wearing has had on our children. The short and long term effects of this type of childhood trauma must be stymied. We simply cannot ignore the current exacerbated mental health effects we are witnessing in our very own children.
We understand how hard you, the Heads of Schools and Administrators, have been working to keep schools open. For that, we are immensely grateful to you and the hard-working teachers and staff that continue to ensure a safe environment for our children. Wholeheartedly empathizing with the challenges you have been facing during these times, we understand you are trying to follow “proper” protocols, as guided by Alison Beam, acting health secretary of the state of PA.
To date, we have not been presented with any official studies that show that masking of children in school or outside has prevented the spread of CoViD-19 and we have no studies that show that prolonged masking of children does not cause serious harm. However, there are studies that clearly show the physical, psychological and emotional damage to young children due to masking. (We are fully aware that these are not peer-reviewed studies, as this would be impossible, as prolonged masking has never been experienced before.) The World Health Organization and CDC stated, and it is confirmed by our community, asymptomatic spread of SARS-CoV-2 is extremely rare. Therefore, the main reason for healthy individuals to wear a mask is now obsolete. Mask mandates are based on public perception. Perception of safety is important, but this is not what we ask of our public health experts. Our rightful expectation is that they will make decisions rooted in science and data.
While there was initial concern with respect to children transmitting CoViD-19 to other children and to adults, studies have found that younger children in particular do not tend to be the main drivers of transmission within households and communities. In the U.S., resurgent CoViD-19 epidemics in 2020 were driven by adults ages 20-49. Even after schools reopened in October, that age group accounted for almost three-quarters of SARS-CoV-2 infections, whereas less than 5% originated from children ages 0-9 and less than 10% from those ages 10-19. Children, even unmasked, are much less likely to spread the disease to adults and children under 10 also may be less susceptible to infection. That’s reflected in the higher frequency of outbreaks reported in secondary and high schools compared with primary or elementary schools and daycare centers, in places where they have remained open.
As a result, we as parents and caregivers should bear the responsibility for assessing the risks and ultimately making the final decision in the choice to mask our children or not.
It is unethical and unconstitutional to force healthy citizens to abide by measures that can result in physical and emotional harm and that impinge on their ability to move freely throughout society without discrimination. For those with deeply held religious beliefs, mask mandates violate their ability to abide by natural law and follow their convictions to walk in faith, not fear. As such, the decision to wear a mask is a highly personal one and should not be mandated; measures that are meant to protect the community as a whole are ineffective if they hurt individuals in that community
Further, there are children who may appear to be well adjusted to wearing masks but are doing so more so to be compliant and follow the rules, while they suffer in silence. So as not to be singled out or shamed in school for what they are feeling or experiencing, they continue to remain silent. While their teachers, aides and school bus operators have been forced to add to their job descriptions “mask-enforcement police”, our children are being disciplined and conditioned to comply, no matter the consequences to their well-being.
We certainly can’t know today how these challenges will continue to fester and ultimately manifest in the future. However, what we do know today is the negative impact on our children NOW and we can only hope to prevent it from continuing to happen.
We, as the advocates for our children, respectfully petition to you, the experienced educators, the heads of schools, the administrators, and anyone else that truly and proudly stands for the viability of the future generations of this country, to let your school families make the best choice for their own children. Parents and caregivers should be the decision makers regarding their child’s overall health and well-being.