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Letters: Science says students should stay masked; Why nix masks so late in school year? | READER COMMENTARY

Science says students should stay masked

The BOE’s desire to eliminate masks in schools is appalling and in stark contrast to the recommendations of organizations dedicated to maintaining the health and safety of children. As a constituent and parent of two children who need to return to in-person learning this coming fall, I implore them to do the job they were elected to do: maintain a quality, equitable education for all students in Carroll County. Taking masks out of the equation prohibits medically vulnerable children from regaining a sense of normalcy this coming school year.

The CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization maintain that mask wearing is appropriate and necessary for the health and safety of all students:

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• The “CDC recommends schools continue to use the COVID-19 prevention strategies [because] ... Students will not be fully vaccinated by the end of the 2020–2021 school year. Youth under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination.”

• “[T]he American Academy of Pediatrics ... recommends the continued use of a well-fitting face mask for children and teens who are age 2 years and older and not yet fully vaccinated. ... [T]he use of face masks significantly reduces the spread of severe SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory infections in schools and other community settings. ... The use of face masks should continue until children or adolescents are fully vaccinated, which is two weeks after the final COVID-19 vaccine dose has been administered.”

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• The WHO states, “Regardless of the level of community transmission, it is critical that schools use and layer prevention strategies. ... Universal and correct use of masks should be required,” and “A medical mask provides protection to the person wearing the mask and prevents transmission to others. It is recommended for anyone who has underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of serious illness.”

The Board’s [potential] decision to eliminate masks at this time is unconscionable. All year long, they have claimed to want a return to normalcy for kids. But eliminating masks in schools before every child is able to obtain the vaccine does the opposite. It shows little regard for those children who rely on everyone masking to stay safe.

Where are the Board’s priorities? Eliminating masks for in-person kids who are faring well with current policies? Or creating a safe learning environment for all children?

Niki Guinan, Marriottsville

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Why nix masks so late in school year?

I watched [Board of Education President] Marsha Herbert on the news [Wednesday] night with a smile on her face and saying that they want students and teachers to stop wearing masks in school immediately. She said they weren’t necessary and that it was time for the children to get back to normal. I then saw several parents interviewed very briefly and all of them were parents of children with ongoing breathing problems and said that the masks were just too much for these children. They were very happy that the masks were going to be discontinued. 

I get it and I wish these children didn’t have any problems at all but I also understand that this is a small percentage of the entire student body of Carroll County. There are seven school days left and one of them is virtual.

[Thursday] morning I find that the Board is holding a “special” meeting on Monday, June 7, to “consider supporting a resolution by the Carroll County Delegation requesting that the Governor rescind the order requiring that masks be worn inside school buildings.” Unlike other board meetings, there will be no citizen participation. In other words, “you’re not invited!”

As a mother of teachers in Carroll County and grandmother of children in Carroll County Schools which includes elementary, middle and high school, I am appalled and more than a little concerned that five people are going to make a decision that they have no business making without any input.

Again, there are seven hybrid school days left.

Donna Rudolph, Taneytown

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