Make Masks Optional in Hawaii Public Schools!
This petition is intended for Hawaii students, alumni, parents, and any community members interested in protecting the social and physical wellbeing of Hawaii youth.
**No donation needed, just your support with a signature**
To Elizabeth Char, MD – Director, Hawaii Department of Health and Catherine Payne – Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Education, please make masks optional for our children. We are advocating for our children who have been forced to wear masks all day at school. The environment and our understanding of the science has changed since the pandemic began. At this stage, the decision on how to protect our children should return to the parents who best understand their children and their family’s risk profile. We are simply asking it to be a choice, not a mandate.
The WHO and UNICEF do not recommend masks on children under 5 and advise that the decision to use masks for children aged 6-11 should be based on the following factors (https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-children-and-masks-related-to-covid-19):
- Children should not wear a mask when playing sports or doing physical activities, such as running, jumping or playing on the playground, so that it doesn’t compromise their breathing.
- Whether there is widespread transmission in the area where the child resides
- The ability of the child to safely and appropriately use a mask
- Access to masks, as well as laundering and replacement of masks
- Adequate adult supervision and instructions to the child on how to put on, take off and safely wear masks
- Potential impact of wearing a mask on learning and psychosocial development, in consultation with teachers, parents/caregivers and/or medical providers
- Specific settings and interactions the child has with other people who are at high risk of developing serious illness, such as the elderly and those with other underlying health conditions
- Please, we simply ask that you give the decision and control to the parents to determine how to protect their children. Some may choose to mask (and that’s okay!), while other may decide not to mask (that should be okay too!).
As of July 2021, 60% of the Hawaii population has been vaccinated. All teachers and school staff have been vaccinated or have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. The CDC has issued clear guidance that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html. As such, we need to now return the focus to the protection of our children.
It’s also now clear that effects of COVID-19 on children is closer to that of the seasonal flu: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/05/25/997467734/childrens-risk-of-serious-illness-from-covid-19-is-as-low-as-it-is-for-the-flu. Kids don’t need protection from the COVID-19 virus.
There is no long-term research for the impacts of masking our children for 6-9 hours per day, but we do know that frequent mask wearing is a breeding ground for bacteria, reduces oxygen intake, and increases risk of CO2 poisoning:
- The CDC advises washing your hands when you take off the mask, and again after you put it back on; we can’t pretend that children are dutifully taking all these precautions.
- Contamination of the upper respiratory tract by viruses and bacteria on the outside of face masks has been detected in several hospitals; face masks are moist and filled with bacteria, e.coli and fungi
- Children are experiencing headaches, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, and sleep issues, which could be attributed to oxygen deprivation
- Kids can’t wear their glasses because they can't control the fogging
- Hearing impaired kids can no longer read lips
- Masks inhibit the ability of kids who are asthmatic or allergy-prone to breathe
Please join us in signing this petition to ask Hawaii State Department of Health and the Board of Education to REMOVE the mask requirements in our public schools for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year!
Let them be optional! Let the parents choose!