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As the Delta variant carves a path through the lives of our communities, many parents are deeply concerned about the health and safety of schools. School leaders at the state level have a basic job to do: first do no harm, keep our children safe.
Every day parents drop children off at school and have had a reasonable expectation that administrators and teachers will do their best to keep our children safe, however, they must have the tools to do so. The Georgia state board of education has failed to provide them the tools they need to do this very basic job that has become more complicated during the pandemic and as students 12 and under are not yet eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine.
The state BOE could have, for example, simply required that each county would be allowed to open schools when 60+% of residents are vaccinated. This was a missed opportunity, but not too late to rectify. It’s a simple equation and would have helped those who desire in-person learning to make better decisions about the consequences of choosing to vaccinate. Instead, our state leaders have chosen to listen to the loudest voice in the room, not the one that is led by the science. Leadership is about making hard choices based on real information. Multiple studies have shown that masks make a considerable difference in keeping people safe from the corona virus. They need to require and enforce the mask mandate.
Bottom line: the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement https://www.aappublications.org/…/07/18/schools-071821 about the need for in-person learning while wearing masks. We are asking for the state board of education to follow the guidance issued by the AAP. We trust pediatricians to take care of our children, we need to trust them on this guidance, and we need for our state BOE to lead and make the hard decisions.
*Some school officials in various areas of Georgia have said that they cannot make children wear masks. Those of us who have daughters beg to differ. If masks cannot be required, then perhaps all dress codes need to be dropped.
Please write to the state board of education and request the following:
1. Mandate masking for all children, teachers, and staff in schools, on school buses, and for other school activities.
2. Provide opportunities for parents to opt in to vaccine adoption (sponsor local events for receiving vaccines).
3. Work with local pediatricians to be ready to implement a plan for those who are 12 and under to receive the vaccine as soon as it is approved for use.
4. Understand that your job is to lead and to follow the best practices as issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control. Leadership is hard and we expect you to protect all children based on these best practices.
Contact information for the state board of education that you can copy and paste into an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find a comprehensive list complete with phone numbers on this webpage: https://www.gadoe.org/…/State-Board…/Pages/default.aspx
Separately, please write or call Gov. Kemp and ask him to use his power to protect Georgia’s children.