Letter: Masks in school — response to Pete Wood | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Masks in school — response to Pete Wood

In Tuesday’s paper, Pete Wood implied that the school board has not been using medical science to make its decisions regarding masks in schools. This could not be further from the truth.

Please consider the scientific facts according to the publication Scientific American:

• Pediatric hospitalizations for COVID-19 have reached all-time highs in some regions, in particular those that are not masking and vaccination rates are low.

• Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, Davis, Children’s Hospital, says that even before vaccines were available, masking mandates in schools worked quite well. During the 2020–21 school year (before delta was circulating widely), where school mask mandates were in place, viral transmission was limited.

• Schools without mask mandates subject children not only to a higher risk of viral transmission but also to the experience of seesawing between virtual and in-person classes as outbreaks lead to school closures, followed by haphazard reopenings.

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Strawberry Park Elementary, Soda Creek Elementary, Sleeping Giant School and Strawberry Park Middle School all have students under age 12 who cannot get vaccinated yet. Masks are their only protection.

Common sense public health policies — thank you Steamboat Springs Board of Education — make a much-needed return to in-person schooling as safe as possible. The highly infectious delta variant is surging, and masks will help protect our children and help keep them in school.

American children are getting sick in record numbers. It can happen in Steamboat if we let our guard down and behave recklessly. Masks are an important tool in preventing COVID-19’s spread, especially as dangerous variants circulate among unvaccinated children.

The Steamboat Springs Board of Education has made a scientifically based decision to protect our children. Thank you to our school board for making children its priority. Well done.

Nancy Spillane

Oak Creek

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