Last fall, I connected with other parents in our community who were concerned with the decision to require masks in elementary and middle schools at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. As I listened to their reasons for being troubled, I began to understand that the core issue for most of us was not whether we were “pro-mask” or “anti-mask”. Instead, it was that the decision was made without demonstrating how the benefit to the public outweighed the physical and mental health concerns being raised by parents and community members. As a result, we sent the letter below to school district leaders stating why we believed their decision did not comply with the school district’s health and safety policy. Ultimately, we had over 50 parents add their signatures to the letter.
While I am hopeful we are finally past the point of deciding whether to implement future mask requirements, I am committed to challenging any similar public health related decisions in our schools that 1) do not demonstrate how the benefit to public health outweighs potential physical and mental health risks to individuals, and 2) do not have a mechanism in place to track, investigate, and incorporate concerns raised by parents and community members.