Keep our Kids Safe - Require Masks in WLCSD Schools
We, as concerned parents in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District, are requesting that ALL students be required to wear masks to start the 2021-2022 academic year.
This past week, parents were informed that in following recommendations by local, state, and federal lawmakers, masks will no longer be required in the WLCSD. Other changes being implemented include the removal of partitions, no longer requiring students to stay in cohorts, and no longer requiring contact tracing and quarantine/isolation of close contacts.
Children under 12 are currently not able to get vaccinated. The current dominant COVID-19 strain, the Delta variant, carries 1000 times more viral load than the original COVID-19 strain meaning it spreads quicker and easier and can cause more severe symptoms than earlier strains. The school district should be doing all it can to ensure the health and safety of ALL students. The easiest way to do this is to require masks for everyone.
The school district’s goal should be to return as many children to in person learning as possible . By not requiring masks, we are excluding those in the community who may be vulnerable or have vulnerable household members.
The district has told parents who are concerned about the removal of the mask policy to enroll their children in the VLAC, Virtual Learning Consortium. For many students with working parents, this is not a viable option.
We should not have to choose between the safety of our children and being able to provide for our family, especially when a simple solution is available.
While there are no mandated requirements for school safety, the CDC has made the following recommendations:
- Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as indoor masking.
- Screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
- Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including students, teachers, staff, and other members of their households.
In addition to the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics put out a statement recommending ALL persons over the age of 2 wear masks within a school regardless of vaccination status.
The choice by WLCSD to discontinue these safety precautions directly contradicts these recommendations.
Until a vaccination is available for children under 12 years of age, ALL students should be required to wear a mask