Davidson County Republican Party (tn) Open Letter To School Board On Masks

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Davidson County Republican Party July 31, 2021 James B. Garrett DCRP Chairman 615-933-1872 Open Letter to the Nashville School Board Regarding the Petition to Reinstate Forced Masking for K-12 in Public Schools

Dear Members of the School Board, Recently, a petition has been presented to the School Board in support of reinstating the mask mandate for K-12 students this fall. The Biden Administration has released their own advisory report recommending that all school children K-12 be masked while in school. Current policy does not require masks, and an MNPS spokesperson has maintained that masks will not be required unless ordered by the mayor’s office. The Davidson County Republican Party objects to the forced masking of K-12 students and urges that MNPS maintain its current mask-optional policy. Here is why: 1.

The Efficacy of Masks is Questionable

Despite what is generally reported, there is no scientific consensus on the efficacy of masks. In fact, Stephen Petty, one of the top experts on PPE and aerosolized contaminants in the country, states that cloth masks are all but useless in the prevention of disease. Moreover, aerosolized Covid particles are tiny, 0.1 to 0.5 microns, smaller than the diameter of a human hair by orders of magnitude. The evidence discussed in a November 2020 NIH research concludes that data “suggest that both medical and non-medical face masks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such as SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of face masks,” and that masks cause “substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects.” Regardless of the lack of consensus, there is a reason N95 masks and respirators are fitted and used in specific settings like hospitals. The correct fitting and use of masks is all but impossible for adults, let alone children. Teachers of young children can attest

to the oftentimes constant touching and readjusting of masks that leave gaps in the fit and bring unwanted pathogens and bacteria to the face. 2. Masks Cause Discomfort and Lower Blood Oxygen Levels On its face, this may not sound like a reason to endanger others with the spread of a virus, but we must balance this concern with the potential impactful discomfort and health effects that prolonged mask wearing may cause for some—particularly under exertion. Let it be noted that White House Mask Advisory leaves no recourse for students with respiratory complications. This is a high price that we are asking children to pay for the rest of society. 3. Masking Hinders Speech Development Babies and young children acquire their native language not just by listening to speech, but through looking at the mouths of their parents, caregivers, and teachers. Masking slows the acquisition and development of speech.  4. Masking Inhibits Human Connectivity The Covid era has seen a marked rise in loneliness, depression, and mental health issues including suicide. Human beings need social interaction for basic mental and emotional health. While holding school in person is far superior to being quarantined in front of a screen, but the hiding of the face behind a mask also inhibits person-toperson emotional connection. Children who are in masked environments often cannot see or process much of the feeling and meaning communicated by facial expressions. Young children may also struggle to recognize others. Are we willing to make our children pay this price? 5. Children Are Not At Risk For Covid Covid is not a serious threat to children nor have schools been found to be at the root of super spreader events. “What we haven’t seen are super spreader events” that ignited in schools, says Sallie Permar, MD, PhD, a professor of pediatrics and immunology at Duke. “The fear that you’d have one infected kid come to school, and then you’d have many other kids and teachers and relatives [at home] get infected — that hasn’t happened.” 

It is human nature to protect the young and the weak from whatever danger may threaten them. However, during this pandemic, we adults may find that in seeking to protect ourselves, we do so at the expense of our children. While the risks of Covid transmission are real, please consider the needs of children, especially kindergarteners and elementary students, whose lives may be negatively impacted by being forced to wear a mask themselves and by not being allowed to see the faces of teachers and friends. Consider also the reality that most young students are not capable of wearing a mask properly, regardless of how often they are reminded. Most children will naturally touch their masks throughout the day, rendering them completely useless. In addition, not all parents support masking for their children. The issue has become so politically charged that many of those parents are afraid to voice their dissent. The growing censorship and restriction of speech has made speaking up even more difficult for many. Based on the above-mentioned documentation of known facts, the Davidson County Republican Party agrees with MNPS that mask-wearing should be optional in schools. Children who are symptomatic should stay home and quarantine for as long as recommended, just as has been the practice for decades for transmissible illnesses prior to the pandemic. Families with highly at-risk members should have the option of remote schooling. Healthy children should be allowed to go to schools and daycares and see the faces of their teachers and classmates.  In conclusion, we urge the you, the members of the Metro School Board, to proceed with caution in regard to this latest push for a mask mandate. Sincerely yours,

James B. Garrett

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