By Travis Rowley
After speaking recently with other Westford parents it has become apparent that I’m hardly alone in my frustration and disappointment with the School Department’s serious consideration to submit to the latest CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines by reinstating compulsory masking as a condition to attend our public schools this September – even as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has not required municipalities to do so and while many other localities have rejected the waffling federal guidance.
It should be noted that, for the sake of getting along and short-term cooperation while living through confusing and intimidating times, many Westford parents during the 2020-21 school year decided to comply and compromise their personal perspectives – along with their children’s health – as they winced for months at the sight of masked children inside our schools. These are not people unfamiliar with exercising some patience. Or, for that matter, ungrateful for the ongoing efforts made by those within the education community.
While sympathizing with the inclination to look for advice from medical professionals, it is also wise to acknowledge adversarial medical recommendations while entertaining the idea that the CDC remains a federal bureaucracy, is pressured by multiple political interests, and is perhaps doing its best while charged with an impossible task. That is, to provide blanket guidance for 330 million people divided into thousands of smaller communities characterized by diverse conditions and concerns.
Indeed, the CDC’s masking guidance contradicts the CDC’s own scientific knowledge – i.e. the good and welcome news that COVID-19 poses infinitesimal health risks to children, and that students (and school communities in general) are not significant vectors of the virus. Long-term data sets strongly suggest that kids are simply not carrying or transmitting COVID-19 to any alarming degree.
Adding to the clumsiness of overarching federal direction is the CDC’s ludicrous pretension that, as the CDC instructs, hand-washing actually occurs every time a student touches his own mask – an absurdity used to validate a highly dubious mask order to remain in place while compliant adults continue to be convinced of the efficacy of student masking.
Buttressing common sense, numerous reports and studies now confirm adverse effects of masking children that not only include the hindering of optimum learning conditions and positive social development, but also headaches, fatigue, nausea, malaise, cognitive impairment, and asphyxiation. Research informs us that a mask often becomes “a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which can undermine mucosal viral immunity.”
Simply put: Masking – the retention and collection of naturally expelled waste and dangerous pathogens held close to the body’s airways for consecutive hours several days a week – injures our kids. Obviously.
Furthermore, whereas any parent may, of course, voluntarily choose to mask his own child to satisfy his own personal sensibilities, and whereas vaccinations have now been widely available for nine months for any adult (parent, teacher, administrator, or community member) still under the impression that the refusal to implement a child mask requirement will lead to high rates of transmission, I find the adoption of the CDC’s masking guidelines a superfluous, counter-productive, and dangerous measure rooted in unfounded and unscientific paranoia.
The purpose of this letter is to urge all rightful and lawful decision-makers to reject the CDC’s guidance. In anticipation of disagreement and a multitude of alternate perspectives, I urge all recipients of this letter to forward it to anyone who might be in agreement or merely intrigued by the argumentation put forth, so that a collective may begin to form that might continuously and effectively defy policies that are harming our children under the ruse that the Westford School Department, by masking our children, will somehow be contributing to a national effort to extinguish COVID-19 from American shores. –Travis Rowley, Westford
“Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks. This is based on the safety
and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance.”
“The decision to use masks for children aged 6-11 should be based on … whether there is widespread transmission in the area where the child resides … the ability of the child to safely and appropriately use a mask … [and the] potential impact of wearing a mask on learning and psychosocial development, in consultation with teachers, parents/caregivers and/or medical providers.”
UNICEF & The World Health Organization
“Children are spared the severe consequences of COVID-19 and less likely to spread it,
and I think that remains true for the delta variant despite scary headlines.”
Dr. Amesh Adalja
Infectious Disease Expert & Senior Scholar – Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security
“Even for those students not yet vaccinated, the apparent risk of COVID-19 to children remains small.”
Jeffrey C. Riley – Commissioner of Mass. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
Margret R. Cooke – Commissioner of Mass. Dept. of Public Health
(July 30th 2021)