The date was Aug. 11, 2021. The time was 2:25 p.m. I received the following message from my children’s school district superintendent.
“We have continued keeping close track of reported positive cases and student/staff quarantines. We are experiencing similar increases as our state and county. As of today (August 11), there have been 61 cases and 630 quarantines.” [FYI: School started on July 29.]
“Now that we’ve looked at the data, I want you to be aware of the actions we’ll take in the coming days.”
Step 1: Meet with [blank] County Health Department
I have arranged a meeting with the [blank] County Health Department and the other [blank] County superintendents for later this week. During that conversation, we’ll discuss any updated recommendations as a result of our Orange status.”
Make it make sense. I continue to see politicians fighting each other as they disagree on whether a mask should or should not be worn in schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clearly recommends that masks be worn inside for school children since they cannot be vaccinated. But it’s now up to the child or the parents? So, is this no longer public health? But a game of Russian roulette. Why can’t the superintendent decide for our children without having to discuss the matter with other superintendents? How many children will need to be infected for them to take action? I thought he was responsible for the health and safety of our babies.
My youngest child’s school has had 11 cases during his first 14 days of school. However, last year, there was one case during the first 2 1/2 months of school. One! So, was it just pure luck that there was only one case? Was it just pure luck that there were only 13 cases during the first 2 1/2 weeks of school last year in the entire district versus the 61 this year? Was it the immaturity of the virus that there were 220 students quarantined in the entire district last year during the first 2 1/2 weeks of school versus the 630 this year? Keep in mind that school has only been in session for 14 days, but the number of children who are currently infected with COVID-19 is more than 4.5 times the amount in the first 2 1/2 months of school in 2020.
Yes, we are a free country (for most of us but that’s a different column). But where do we draw the line? There are vaccines to protect the population for those who are over 12. But what about my babies? How are they supposed to be protected? What if their fellow classmate has a weakened immune system? What if they can’t advocate for themselves? I challenge our school districts, government, superintendents and everyone else to put politics aside. It’s time to protect our babies. I’m tired of the bickering. Tired of the anxiety. I fear daily wondering if my child will be infected next. There’s proof in data. There’s proof in numbers.
Can we just have all the children wear masks? And if there’s another alternative to protect our babies, please share. I just want all of our children to be safe.
This isn’t a hoax. This isn’t a game. This is reality.
Leslie Nicole Smith is an executive in higher ed administration, a motivator and community leader.