Please review this memo and sign the letter if you agree:
June 25, 2020
Dear Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, and Education Commissioner Riley:
For the last four months, children in our commonwealth have been forced to live without a school routine and accompanying social structure crucial to human development.
Our children have done their part to “flatten” the COVID-19 curve, sacrificing their own development for the safety of our most vulnerable citizens. Several months’ worth of data has shown us that the coronavirus overwhelmingly harms the elderly, and those with preexisting health conditions.
The data we have tells us children are by far the least vulnerable during the current pandemic, yet have made some of the biggest sacrifices in terms of their own development.
The children of our commonwealth have sacrificed enough — their lives completely upended, their personal growth shattered literally overnight, following the onset of the pandemic. Our commonwealth’s children have seen their education and social structure growth stifled.
Data gleaned over the past few months indicates this virus has more than a 99% survival rate and that rigorous sanitizing practices work.
We also know this — according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there is a 0 percent death rate for those younger than 20 years old.
The data does not support keeping young and healthy people, particularly children, under these restrictions for any longer.
There is a particular injustice to childrens’ psychological, emotional, and educational well being. Children with special needs have not received the services they need to progress. Wearing masks all day will suppress childrens’ immune systems and put them at risk of catching other illnesses.
It is not a healthy learning environment for children to sit wearing a mask for six hours a day in schools without air conditioning or proper oxygen flow in their schools. Wearing a mask not just physically harms their ability to breathe freely, but also puts up a barrier to normal social interaction, which children go to school to learn.
The mandates announced today will make learning, socialization, and day to day life harder for our children. They have already been delayed in their growth, and these rules will further prevent them from succeeding in their academics and socialization, which is why we send them to school. Suggestions that school systems would force students to face forward and stay apart from each other will only stifle teachers’ ability to connect with their students in healthy ways. It stifles educational growth; the opposite of what our Commonwealth should be doing.
We are putting children at a much greater health risk by refusing to let them be normal children than we are by them potentially being exposed to a virus which we know they are at an extremely low risk of getting or transmitting to others.
It is beyond time to let children be children again. Masks should be advisory for our students, not mandatory. The regulations announced today further hurt children, who have been hurt enough in the past four months.
It is now time to release children from the unfair restrictions which have been placed on them, and let them resume their normal lives once again. It is time to open youth sports, summer camps, and schools, without restrictions.