Letter to the editor – September 7, 2021

Dear editor, 

The USD 257 Board of Education is pursuing a COVID-19 policy designed to manage crisis, not to prevent a crisis. 

The Board is ignoring how much more contagious the Delta variant is, the low vaccination rate in Allen County, the fact elementary students do not have a vaccination option, and the increased hospitalizations of children since the delta variant became dominant in the United States.

COVID can have serious consequences for children, and present an even greater threat to adults in the wider community. Waiting to act until we have large numbers of students contributing to community spread is irresponsible and puts the health and lives of our community members of all ages in danger. 

We already have a serious problem. The last thing we need to do is put a large number of unmasked students in an indoor setting, which almost ensures further community spread of the virus.

We are making decisions based on emotions and trying to satisfy a divided community. We should be making decisions based on scientific evidence, reliable and valid research, and the recommendations from public health officials. 

There is no evidence the board has assembled a panel of local physicians and public health professionals to advise in their decision-making. They have given no justification based upon sound research to justify ignoring the guidelines set by the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and other professionals in public health.

Considering that Allen County has had three deaths in three weeks from COVID, perhaps this is not the time to ignore CDC guidelines in the county’s public schools.

— Rachel Haigler,

Carlyle, Kan.

August 13, 2021
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