MCPS Staff's Freedom to Choose
MCPS Staff's Freedom to Choose
We write to express our strong opposition to the Board's newly mandated COVID vaccination requirement. We are a substantial number of teachers and other MCPS staff who stand to be unjustifiably terminated under that mandate. We love our jobs and the children we work so hard to teach. We have given more hours than we can count since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have been flexible to accommodate the County's virtual learning, and then hybrid learning systems over the last year. We have done so willingly – eagerly – because we understand how important our daily interactions with our students are for their development under these extraordinary circumstances.
Unfortunately, the Board's recent mandate threatens to jeopardize the quality education that we strive to provide. It blanketly imposes the Board's will on teachers and staff and demands that they submit to vaccinations or face termination – regardless of religious and, we believe, most medical exemption requests. The Board's mandate takes our own personal health decisions out of our hands, and we cannot simply sit still and let ourselves be pressured into medical decisions under the threat of losing our jobs. It is also a hell of a way to thank us for our efforts over the past 18 months.
We fail to understand the wisdom of jeopardizing the employment of teachers and other staff at a time when MCPS is already understaffed. Your decision will not only jeopardize the financial lives of many hard-working MCPS teachers and staff, it will further exacerbate the shortages that negatively affect the mission of MCPS.
To be clear, we are not suggesting that there should be no mitigation efforts for COVID. We appreciate the need to keep our community and our students safe, and we acknowledge the concerns that parents and others have about preventing the spread of the virus. This is not a letter pertaining to mask mandates, nor is it a letter objecting to weekly COVID testing. While some of us have doubts about the effectiveness of both of those tactics, we leave that for another day. We are singularly talking here about the Board's vaccine mandate.
We fail to see how it is not sufficient that we simply insist on making our own medical decisions with respect to agreeing to take any medication – let alone one of this nature. We have a variety of reasons for declining to submit to COVID vaccinations, ranging from concern about its effectiveness to concerns about its side-effects, to our own personal health situations and history, to strongly held religious beliefs. The bottom line is that we have a Constitutional right, as adult citizens of the United States, to make our own medical decisions, and we will not freely surrender that right.
That said, and in the interest of transparency to the parents and other members of the community, here are some issues that have given us some concern. We are certainly open to any light that you might be able to shed on any of these points, but we will not simply accept the argument that the FDA has "approved" the vaccine, or that the President has called for universally-mandated vaccines.
1. We do not accept that COVID-19 is a severe universal threat.
* The Maryland State Department of Education stated that local school systems should not make decisions about in-person education based on the level of vaccination of their teachers or staff. This demonstrates that COVID-19 is not a universal threat.
* During the summer of 2021, various in-person summer school programs, such as ESY, enrichment and local programs existed around the county in various forms (in-person):
* The staff was not required to get vaccinated, nor were they required to wear masks when students were not present.
* On Tuesday, August 31, 2021, MCPS communicated to staff the expectations if an individual was unvaccinated. “MCPS is requiring all staff to provide verification of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, or to undergo weekly COVID testing if unvaccinated or unattested.”
* In the Spring of 2021, the state of Maryland and MCPS, opened up the schools for 12 weeks, 69 school days, with staff and students returning, not requiring weekly testing of vaccines, but following the CDC guidelines of mask wearing and social distancing of 6 feet.
* Almost 100% of kids don’t suffer from severe COVID. In fact, many have no symptoms at all.
* Among states reporting, children were 0.00%-0.27% of all COVID-19 deaths, and 7 states reported zero child deaths
* In states reporting, 0.00%-0.03 of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death
* Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report
2. Recent facts demonstrate a decreasing effectiveness of COVID vaccines.
* Moderna, the maker of one of the COVID vaccines, released new data on COVID breakthrough cases. The new data showed that breakthrough COVID cases occurred more frequently in people who were vaccinated less recently (months ago). This data supports that the immunity and effectiveness of those vaccinated early on is waning. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/15/covid-booster-shots-moderna-releases-data-on-breakthrough-cases-backing-need-for-third-doses.html
* Children’s Health Defense makes the case that the COVID-19 vaccine does not stop the transmission of the disease.
* According to the CDC, the three EUA vaccines do not prevent transmission or spread of the COVID-19 virus. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html
* Deaths and adverse reactions as reported to the National Vaccine Information Center from COVID19 deaths 14,506, serious adverse reactions-675,593. It is widely estimated that less than 1% of adverse reactions are reported making the actual number much greater.
* With all other vaccines, natural immunity is also a form of a vaccine. (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/immunity-types.htm
* A recent study out of Israel, states “This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity.”
* During an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, on September 10, 2021, Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked Dr. Anthony Faucci if an individual who was already infected with COVID-19 and had natural immunity should get the vaccine, Dr. Faucci’s response was “…..I don’t have a really firm answer for you… we really don’t know about the durability about it… it could be an argument…”
* Dr. Carlson published an article on July 26, 2021 which stated, “This new study shows that most convalescent COVID-19 patients mount durable antibodies, B cells, and T cells specific for SARS-CoV-2 up to 250 days. The kinetics of these responses provide an early indication for a favorable course ahead to achieve long-lived immunity.” https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/natural-immunity-after-covid-19-found-durable-and-robust
* This study shows that whether you had the vaccine or not, the vaccine is not effective. “Anti-spike, anti-RBD and neutralization levels dropped more than 84% over 6 months’ time in all groups irrespective of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. At 6 months post-vaccine, 70% of the infection-naive NH residents had neutralization titers at or below the lower limit of detection compared to 16% at 2 weeks after full vaccination.” https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.15.21262067v3
* In a paper published on September 9, 2021 Nina Pierpoint, MD, PhD analyzed other studies that reviewed the COVID vaccines and their effectiveness with the Delta variant. Dr. Pierpoint came to the conclusion that the studies prove that herd immunity to COVID cannot be achieved through vaccination because the Delta variant is evading the current vaccines. https://childrenshealthdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/Pierpont-Why-mandated-vaccines-are-pointless-final-1.pdf
3. We are concerned about harmful side-effects of the vaccines.
* The court acknowledges that "vaccines have unavoidable adverse side effects" “the Act expressly eliminates liability for a vaccine’s unavoidable, adverse side effects: “No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.”
(Page 5 of the opinion)
* According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reported through September 10, 2021, there have been 701,559 Adverse Events, 60,741 Hospitalizations, 80,393 Urgent Care, 6,637 Heart Attacks, 5,765 Myocarditis, 1,862 Miscarriages, 19, 210 Disabled, and 14, 925 Deaths.
4. We are concerned that there will be no end to mandated "booster" shots, and that today's "vaccinated" employees will be tomorrow's "unvaccinated" employees unless they continue to submit.
* In the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery County Education Association regarding COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing dated August 23, 2021 the parties agreed that, “The Board may require any eligible employee to receive a vaccination booster and provide proof of the booster vaccination. Any employee who fails to undergo the booster vaccination shall be required to undergo regular asymptomatic testing as described in paragraph 3. The vaccination card will be accepted as proof of vaccination until thirty days after the electronic certificate becomes available.”
5. There are valid grounds for objection based upon religious beliefs that are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
* Under the United States Constitution’s Civil Rights Act of 1964,
(j) The term "religion" includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate an employee's or prospective employee's religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business.
* The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." These words guarantee that an individual's religious freedoms are protected. By mandating vaccination for all staff in MCPS, you are negating our constitutional rights as a citizen of the United States of America.
* “EUA products are experimental under U.S. law. Both the Nuremberg Code and federal regulations provide that no one can force a human being to participate in this experiment. Under 21 U.S. Code Sec.360bbb-3(e)(1)(A)(ii)(III), “authorization for medical products for use in emergencies,” it is unlawful to deny someone a job or an education because they refuse to be an experimental subject. Instead, potential recipients have an absolute right to refuse EUA vaccines.”
* The Establishment Clause was established by Thomas Jefferson to make sure there was a “wall between church and state. (Everson v. Board of Educ. of Ewing, 330 U.S. 1, 15-16 (1947). By mandating the vaccination of all staff, the BOE is merging chiurch and state and playing GOD.
* MCPS states on the website that parents can provide “Exemptions from a physical examination and immunizations are permitted if they are contrary to a student’s or family's religious beliefs, and requires parent/guardian signature on MDH Form 896.”
Parents get the option of religious exemption and the freedom to choose, but MCPS staff is not afforded the same right.
* Under the United States Constitution’s 4th amendment, the right of the people to be secure in their person’s, meaning that my medical information is mine and only mine.
6. We believe that there are effective mitigation strategies that do not require vaccine mandates.
* WEEKLY TESTING
* SOCIAL DISTANCING
For all of these reasons, we submit that the Board's recent vaccine mandate is not only unwise for the sake of the school system, but it unlawfully infringes on our right to make our own medical decisions under threat of terminating our employment. We appreciate the need to protect our community, but we decline to comply with this mandate that violates our rights, makes little rational sense, and that unjustifiably demands our compliance.
We are more than willing to work with the Board to find alternatives that would protect our community. In the event that the Board declines that offer, MCPS will need to terminate all of us, which is in none of our interests. We hope that the Board will agree, reverse its mandate, and work with us going forward.