Parent support for eliminating mask mandate

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Emma Stafford

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Feb 21, 2022, 6:11:06 PM2/21/22
to public....@laschools.net
Dear Members of the Los Alamos Public School Board,

Thank you for your service to our community as members of this board.

I am writing to you as the mother of a Los Alamos High School student to request that you remove the school setting indoor mask mandate immediately. I believe it is in the best interests of students, families, and our community to place this decision in the hands of families to determine what is best for their unique situation. Families, who know their children better than anyone, have the best information on whether or not to have their children continue masking indoors.

Families who wish to continue masking should have the freedom to do that as well and should not be discouraged from doing so. The schools should be willing to work with those families to support that decision, and ensure that children who remain masked are not called out for that or ridiculed by students or staff. Likewise, children whose families decide to unmask should be supported and not criticized or called out.

Children ages 5 and up are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This covers all the ages of kids in kindergarten through 12th grade. For those families whose main concern is physical safety, have not all families in the Los Alamos Public School system been offered the opportunity and been encouraged to have their children vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus? Why should we still require masking in school settings if parents can choose to protect their children by getting them vaccinated?

Additionally, it is debatable that masking children has any mitigating effects on the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here is just one of many articles in support of this point: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/kids-masks-schools-weak-science/621133/

The perceived physical benefit to masking does not outweigh the very real harms instigated to social, emotional, mental, and psychological well-being. If there is no real benefit, save that of a feeling of physical safety, how can that be justified against the very tangible damage done to children by continued masking? Is it ethical to continue to potentially harm our children emotionally, socially, mentally, and psychologically so that we can “feel” safe physically?

Are we truly concerned about safety? Where does this sense of providing for everyone’s safety end? For example, I am much more concerned about my child traveling daily on State Road 4 and the Truck Route on the morning commute to school than I am about that child being exposed to unmasked individuals.

If we value student well-being and one of our focus areas is student well-being, as stated on the “About LAPS” webpage, how does that play into a decision that has students remain masked? Does not student well-being encompass the whole person?

Do we really believe in having our children thrive, as our motto states? Or are we emphasizing a perceived physical protection above their emotional, social, mental, and psychological well- being? I contend that continuing to require masks in school settings further degrades and discourages our students, especially when masks are not required anywhere else except in health care situations. What kind of message does this send to our young people? Are we teaching them to think critically, to be resilient and courageous in the face of challenges? Do we really understand the risks to continued masking, the repercussions that will be apparent down the road? Can we not take a balanced approach by allowing families to make this important decision themselves?

If we cannot unmask at this time, even after a state-wide indoor mask mandate is lifted by the governor, then when will our students be able to unmask? What is the metric that will be used by the school board to make this decision?

Finally, what are the benefits to keeping children masked in school settings? What is the purpose of them continuing to mask if they may spend the rest of their waking and sleeping hours unmasked in all sorts of settings? What are we protecting them from by keeping them masked in the school setting? Should not parents choose if their child continues to mask or not? I ask you, from what are we protecting our children?

Please unmask our students by giving families the freedom to make those decisions individually.

Respectfully,

Emma Stafford
30 Paige Circle
White Rock, NM 87547
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