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Jen Schittino: A parent’s plea to Carroll County school board to implement mask requirement by Sept. 8 | COMMENTARY

An open letter to the members of the Carroll County Board of Education:

Over the last month, I’ve heard your feelings. Lots of feelings. Your feelings on the inefficacy of masks; your feelings on government overreach; your feelings on the incompetence of public health agencies, doctors, and scientists; your feelings on feeling targeted.

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Lots of feelings. So many feelings.

I have feelings, too. I may feel a certain way about certain things or certain people. How I feel, however, may not align with actuality. Feelings are subjective.

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This is where logic comes into play. Data. Science. Facts. Figures. Metrics. Tables, bar charts, etc. You get the picture.

Your decision making is indefensible. You are clearly out of your depth. You have been advised by experts with actual degrees in epidemiology, virology, medicine, and public health. Yet you relied exclusively on your feelings to drive your decision making. Four out of five of you, who are not experts in any of these fields, voted based on your emotional feelings.

You know what doesn’t care about your feelings? COVID-19.

The virus does not care that you think a proven control, such as a mask, is ineffective. The virus is gonna do what a virus does, regardless of your feelings. The virus cannot be reasoned with (to be fair, it looks like neither can four outta five of you).

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Our children are exclusively dependent on this piece of paper to protect them against the virus. They are not vaccinated. They have no protection. They are exclusively dependent on ADULTS to protect them. Your rationale for refusing to mandate masks in schools is more flimsy than the masks themselves.

(For what it’s worth, my 7-year-old autistic son is Golden wearing a mask and so is my 5-year-old; I’m severely claustrophobic and have a lung obstruction and severe asthma, and I’m fine wearing a mask, too. It just ain’t that bad, y’all.)

You have a short window here. Consider me the Ghost of Christmas Future. It’s Sept. 30. Hundreds of CCPS children are quarantined with no virtual learning option; 50 of them are hospitalized, with a dozen in the ICU on vents. You can intervene NOW. This doesn’t have to be a reality.

Look, I’m sorry that you feel bullied. You’re clearly acting like a dog backed into a corner. Any animal, when backed into a corner, is going to attack. You’re on the defensive big time.

I get it.

Let’s put the feelings aside, please. Talk to County Health Officer Ed Singer. Talk to any one of the 70,000 pediatricians who, as members of the American Association of Pediatricians, published guidelines to mandate masks in schools. Talk to anyone from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (that’s what the CDC actually stands for — DISEASE CONTROL).

I’m truly sorry that people have come to your homes to protest. That’s inexcusable and intolerable behavior. You are our friends and neighbors and we mustn’t forget that we are all in this together. This doesn’t have to be a fight.

I don’t want the government overreach, either. Fundamentally, philosophically, and politically, I am opposed to it. If YOU make the decision to mask, then YOU are taking control and preventing the state from telling you what to do.

Carroll County is now high risk based on our infection rate. The threat landscape has changed. You have a solid rationale to mandate masks based on current state law. Infection and hospitalization rates are up; kids under 12 aren’t eligible for the vaccine and won’t be until winter. Boom. Done. Mandating masks in schools is DEFENSIBLE decision making.

When kids are hospitalized and die because YOU didn’t mandate masks in schools, trust that you are going to be No. 1 on the list of bereaved parents and hungry lawyers. You gotta be able to defend the decisions you’ve made. Right now, friends, you ain’t got a viable rationale for not requiring masks in schools. “Feelings” ain’t gonna cut it.

You have the authority and the power, for now anyway. Yield it for good. Our kids are dependent on YOU to protect them.

We have time. Call the meeting. Vote. Masks in schools beginning Sept 8.

The author is an Eldersburg resident and parent to two CCPS students who are not eligible for the vaccine until December 2021, at the earliest (including one who was exposed last week to COVID-19 by a fully-vaccinated adult at summer camp).

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