Alexis Tsiattalos 0

Petition for Mask Choice in Kittatinny Regional High School

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Dear Mr. Hutcheson and KRHS Board of Ed,

This petition is a response to your letter to the KRHS letter dated August 12, 2021. In this letter you stated "On Friday, August 6, 2021, Governor Murphy announced Executive Order 251 mandating the wearing of masks for all K-12 students and faculty in the indoor premises of all public, private, and parochial preschool, elementary, and secondary school buildings." and "Be reminded that the Governor announced in June that students are expected in school for in-person instruction and that will be the basis for our reopening plan. As per the New Jersey Department of Education, schools are not allowed to offer a remote/virtual learning option platform for our students at this time. It's our intention to return to a more normalized school day, but as mentioned previously, we will be finalizing our plans over the next week."

Up until Governor Murphy’s release of EO 251, the July 28, 2021 communication to parents said that “Our goal is to open our doors in a more normal fashion with face coverings being optional for vaccinated individuals, and highly recommended for unvaccinated individuals. There are no current mandates that require families or employees to be vaccinated in NJ Public Schools, but of course we encourage all community members to do what they feel is best to protect their families from the COVID-19 virus and the more contagious Delta variant.

We implore you as a District to use your power to request a STAY in opposition to the Governor's EO 251 and/or demonstrate a peaceful and willful disobedience by letting parents and staff members make their own decisions regarding masking. We encourage you to continue to educate the staff and students on hand hygiene and safety measures to prevent illness as always. Some more things to consider:

Teen suicide rates have increase tremendously in the past 18 months. ER visits for suicide attempts between the ages of 12 and 17 increased by 26% during summer 2020 and by 50% during winter 2021, the CDC found. US News reports “one of the most robust findings in the last 30 years of research on mood disorders is that disturbances in our social rhythms significantly increase the risk – even predict – the development of major depressive episodes”. We need to allow our teens to heal from this past year by giving them a semi-normal, mask optional school year.

Choices regarding health are a civil right grounded in the bodily autonomy, dignity, and privacy of the individual. Furthermore, one of the most valuable rights our children have under the Constitution is the right to receive a free and public education.

There are no long-term safety trials or clinical studies for daily mask use by children. In turn, there are studies showing that Covid is rarely transmitted in school and that children are at extremely low risk for both illness and transmission. A retrospective study across several states did not find sufficient correlation of mask mandates as a successful disease mitigation tool.

The CDC estimates for age stratified infection fatality rates:

○ 0-19 years; 0.003%

○ 20-49 years; .0.02%

○ 50-69 years; 0.5%

○ 70+ years; 5.4%

Symptoms reported from mask use within our own children include:

Headaches, migraines, lethargy, fatigue, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, bloody nose, skin lesions, rashes, and acne on the face, breakdown behind the ears, poor dentition – increased cavities, mouth sores, abscesses, canker sores, reduced ability to concentrate, cognitive decline, mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, difficulty learning, heat exhaustion, heat-related illness

The parents at KRHS love their school and want their children to continue to enjoy their public education. It is truly an amazing place for our children to grow and learn due to the teachers and staff at Kittatinny. We the local taxpayers believe that the ultimate decision-makers should be our families and staff members for themselves and their children. Please use your power to request a stay against mandatory masking and preserve masking choices for our learning community.

Thank you,

Concerned Parents and Taxpayers of KRHS

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