Danvers Residents Call to End the School Mask Mandate
Today, February 9, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker, along with DESE Commissioner Jeff Riley announced that they will not be extending the mask mandate in K-12 schools in the Commonwealth beyond February 28, 2022. This is after careful consultation with the Infectious Disease Doctors, other Medical Experts, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Governor Charlie Baker:
- Everyone has had ample opportunity to get vaccinated.
- Massachusetts has one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation, and “second in the nation for the highest share of kids vaccinated at this point in time.”
- During the surveillance testing that school settings were found to very rarely be sources of transmission. “Schools have proven to be very safe over the pandemic.”
- “Our kids have had to put up with a lot of disruption, a lot of time alone, and have suffered a real learning loss over the last 2 years. There is no disputing those points no matter where you stand.”
- “Given the extremely low risk for young people, the widespread availability and proven effectiveness of vaccines, and the distribution of accurate test protocols and tests, it is time to give our kids a sense of normalcy, and lift the mask mandate on a statewide basis for schools”
- In regard to the CDC guidance for masking “The CDC is worrying about 50 states worth of data and info and MA we do have very high vaccination rates among our overall population, very high vaccination rates for kids who are in school, most states don’t have the kind of surveillance testing program we have, most states don’t have pooled testing, most states don’t have take home tests. We also have one of the lowest hospitalization rates in the country, and we have the lowest positive test rate in the country. I think to some extent I believe she (Dr. Walensky) is applying is what I would describe as a national standard because there 50 states out there, but within those 50 states you have a lot of states that are in different places.”
- Reinforced points made by Governor Baker
- “During the past 2 years the impact of COVID on children has caused a strain on their mental health, emotional wellbeing, and academic success”
- “removing the mask requirements will make it easier for students to learn…”
In addition, multiple doctors and experts around the country, that once favored mandatory masking, are now voicing support of optional masking. This includes from top doctors here in the Commonwealth (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/25/schools-safely-make-masks-optional-new-cdc-guidelines/).
Doctors are coming out saying that one way masking works to protect yourself, and even added protection when vaccinated ((Dr. Leana Wen - CNN https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/09/health/school-mask-mandates-removal-wellness/index.html).
Today in a press release, the Massachusetts Medical Society is also in support of “relaxing in-school masking mandates given recent encouraging public health metrics” (https://www.massmed.org/News/MMS-Positions-on-Health-Care-Issues/Massachusetts-Medical-Society-on-rolling-back-the-state-s-in-school-masking-mandate/).
We have been told to follow the science and experts for the past 2+ years. We have been told to follow the recommendations of DESE for the past 2+ years. And we are now telling you to take your own advice, and follow the science, the experts, and DESE.
The signatories are in agreement that it is now time for the mask mandate to be lifted in the Danvers schools and make masks optional for students and staff. Everyone is in full support of any individual who chooses to continue to wear masks.