Support Continued Universal Mask Mandate for Tredyffrin/Easttown School District

Support Continued Universal Mask Mandate for Tredyffrin/Easttown School District

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Tredyffrin / Easttown Community started this petition

We represent parents and community members in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District who are committed to safe, full, in-person schooling for this year and universal, mandatory masking for all students (grades K - 12), faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Update: On Friday, December 10th, 2021, the PA Supreme Court threw out the mask mandate for schools. This means that the decision of whether to mandate masks in schools now rests solely on the school boards.

Also on December 10th, TESD stated, "As of now, TESD’s local Health and Safety Plan remains in effect and mandates masks while indoors on school property. TESD will review our Health and Safety Plan in January 2022 in accordance with PDE guidelines."

Now is not the time to ease up on masking, as COVID cases are rapidly increasing in not only in Chester County, but also in TESD schools. If you haven't already, please sign this petition to demonstrate your support for a continued, universal mask mandate in all TESD schools, regardless of vaccination status. Then, please spread the word others. 

The anti-mask faction in our community is loud, so the school board and Chester County Health Department need to hear from you that you support a mask mandate in our schools until medical guidance and data shows that changes can be made.

Please note: In addition to signing this petition, we urge you to email the school board and the Chester County Health Department with your support.  Please see the petition update below with contact information and a sample email template.

Update: On Friday, August 13th, 2021, the Tredyffrin / Easttown School District announced that "Individuals aged two and over are required to wear a face covering while indoors in any District building and on school buses regardless of vaccination status."

Despite the mask mandate, our work is not done. The anti-mask faction of our community is loud. Show the TESD School Board and Administration that you support their decision to protect our children and community. If you support a mask mandate in T/E schools for all students (grades K - 12), faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, please sign this petition if you haven't already and make your voice heard. Then, please spread the word to others.

Original petition, launched August 4th, 2021, follows below:

Public health and medical health experts are in agreement with the majority of parents and educators: Kids must be in classrooms this year, for both their mental and educational well-being. Our kids deserve to go to school without worrying about getting sick and spreading the virus to their family, friends, teaching staff, and community. 

We shouldn’t ask our children and their parents to choose between going to school and staying healthy and safe.

Some statistics:

  • COVID cases rose 400% in Chester County over the month of July alone. 
  • New case growth will soon be higher than it was this time in August 2020, when there were no plans to open school regularly.
  • Even with the high rates of vaccination among our teachers and staff, many in our district received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which only has a 55-60% efficacy against the Delta variant, putting both students and faculty at risk.
  • The Delta variant is 200% more transmissible, increasing the likelihood of classmates infecting each other. Delta also has a 1,000% higher viral load.
  • Nearly half of children who have had symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID may suffer from yet unknown long-term COVID after-effects.
  • Even vaccinated individuals (such as children over 12) are able to infect immunocompromised*, unvaccinated, or otherwise vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors, many of whom live in the same households as our children, not to mention other vaccinated people. This further contributes to community spread and the emergence of new variants of the virus and puts the “end” of this pandemic further out of reach.

The CDC, AAP, and a growing list of experts have strongly urged mandatory masking for all grades K-12 for students and faculty, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC is recommending 3 feet distance between kids at school.

Children have not been and will not be spared in this pandemic. The AAP reports that cases of COVID in children and teens jumped 84% over the week of July 22-29, with more than 72,000 children testing positive. As of 8/3, the CDC reports that 526 kids have died of COVID. In addition, the age distribution of new infections and hospitalizations has also shifted downward, with young kids representing a greater proportion of infections and hospitalizations than in previous months. This will only get worse if kids return to school without required masking and other mitigation strategies in place.

Evidence from the CDC shows that the relatively low levels of infections in kids seen during the 2020-2021 school year were, in large part, the result of school closures and widespread mitigation efforts in schools, including mask mandates. Masks work and they are much more effective when the mask is worn by the infected individual (whether they are symptomatic or not) and not just by the person who is at-risk. Last year proved that our children and faculty can wear masks, successfully, and they can do it again.

Reopening schools without mask mandates and other mitigation efforts in place while the Delta variant surges will result in high levels of transmission and infection in kids, which can further contribute to household and community spread, even among the vaccinated. We shouldn’t wait for Delta to spread in schools before putting mask mandates in place; we can and should act in order to prevent any unnecessary disease, death, and suffering.

This is not a political or freedom-of-choice issue.

TESD already requires our kids to wear shoes, shirts, pants, and skirts to school. Students can't bring weapons or wear shirts with profanities on them, and school parties no longer allow food to keep students with food allergies safe. There is also a long list of vaccinations that children must have to attend our schools. They are all accepted as reasonable policies. Mandating masks and maintaining mitigation strategies are no different.

We are depending on the TESD administration and school board to continue to follow the science and protect the health and safety of our kids and community.

We look forward to seeing a plan from that district soon that includes mandatory masking for grades K - 12 plus faculty, regardless of vaccination status, social distancing (including at lunch), and the ability to pivot to virtual learning if needed.

Thank you,

The T/E Community

*Who is immunocompromised? This group includes cancer patients, cancer survivors, transplant recipients, diabetics, those with multiple sclerosis, auto-immune disorders such as arthritis and lupus, and many others. Most likely, someone you know and care about is immunocompromised. Even if they are fully vaccinated, they may still be at the same risk from COVID as the unvaccinated and more likely to be hospitalized or die. Even vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit COVID-19 to this group. 

**A list of resources referenced in this article is available in the “Updates” section of this petition.

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