Letter: School board needs to consult parents about masks

To the editor:

In light of the new mask mandate at Brown County Schools, I’m reaching out to discuss the importance of holding a special board meeting this week to discuss the reinstatement of parent rights and parent ability to choose mask options for our children. Many parents in the school community are extremely upset at the rash and immediate decision to remove our rights. In fact, we have received over 600 signatures of parents who wish to remove the mask mandate or potentially remove their children. The CDC’s recommendation was not in need of the emergency-style reaction that was placed upon our school families.

There is plenty of evidence to support the removal of masks upon all, but we are specifically concerned for our children. In regard to masks, in 2009 and 2015, the NIH conducted a test of cloth masks against respiratory viruses. Both tests concluded that masks are “ineffective” and “should not be recommended” due to “increased risk of infection” while in use. Regarding our children, many polls have been taken and conclusions made that mask wearing “is having multifarious adverse effects on the mental health of youth.” That is a quote from the CDC just last year. The CDC continued that “adolescents and young adults … experienced increased depression and anxiety symptoms” and that “Covid-19 measures may be particularly detrimental to youth.” Parents should have the ability to choose whether our children be subjected to such strain.

If we are truly all working together for the benefit and health of our Brown County children, we need not put them at risk of anxieties that can be detrimental. My main concern is for the mental and emotional health of my children and for the voice of parents to not be silenced. As parents, we have the right to make day to day decisions for our children. If there is still disagreement within leadership, I recommend a poll be sent out to all BCS families to vote pro parent choice or masks.

Please allow a fast-tracked board meeting to be planned in the very near future; this week is necessary for immediate changes to be made. There are many parents prepared to remove their children over this decision. I, personally, drive my children from another county so they can attend Brown County schools and was disappointed last year when BCIS had to shut down for lack of students in the county. I would hate to lose more. Please consider this proposal for an immediate board meeting to discuss parent’s choice as soon as possible.

Kathleen Schwein, Brown County Schools parent

Editor’s note: On Aug. 10, the school board sent out a notice of a special meeting set for Thursday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. at Brown County High School. The agenda includes “Recommendation to update Covid-19 Plan.” It will be preceded by an executive session (closed meeting) to discuss school safety and security measures.

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