Continue Universal Masking at PHM Schools.

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Dear Dr. Thacker and the PHM School Board,

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made for a difficult year for our students, families, and teachers. Even in these unprecedented times, it has been reassuring to see that PHM has been able to put together a comprehensive, science-based plan involving masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene to keep our children safe. In doing so, most of our kids have been able to return to the classroom, and others are looking forward to doing so next school year. In sum, PHM’s COVID-19 safety protocols have been effective.

As we celebrate the end of this academic year, we also understand the importance of looking ahead and preparing for next year. The last year has shown that PHM has an effective model to keep children safe during in-person learning. This model - which includes universal masking in the classroom for students and school staff, and reflects the best practices of the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics - should be continued.

Though there are some parents who are pushing to end masking in classrooms, this would only lead to more illness (including potentially serious long-lasting effects, especially in children who have risk factors such as asthma or other serious medical problems) and even more school disruption due to quarantines. As such, we request that PHM’s COVID-19 safety protocols, including universal masking, be continued until the pandemic is under better control and until all school-aged children have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated.

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