NJ Top News 5/20 – NJ School Superintendent Says Kids Should Ditch the Mask
Should kids wear masks in school?
An Ocean County schools superintendent says no, and he is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to drop the mask mandate.
Triantafillos Parlapanides runs the Central Regional School District. He believes the risk of infection among children is low and says any teacher that wanted to get vaccinated, is vaccinated, and classrooms are safe. Therefore, he said to Murphy, "I am respectively asking that you repeal Executive Order 175 so that students can breathe and that at graduation, parents can see their child's face.”
Parlapanides also cited a number of health statistics in his letter, arguing less than 10% of documented COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have been between the ages of 5 and 17.
“Schools are an important part of the infrastructure of communities," he wrote, "and provide critical services including school meal programs and social, physical, behavioral, and mental health services."
Parlapanides posted his letter on Facebook and largely received positive comments. Murphy has not responded.
New Jersey is one of two states in the nation that is not following the guidance of the CDC on masks. The health agency said in most circumstances it was no longer necessary to wear a mask indoors.
New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have announced the lifting of their mask mandates. Murphy lifted most gathering and capacity limits this week, but has opted to keep indoor mask mandates in place. He has given no indication when it might be lifted.
Dear Governor Murphy:
I hope this letter finds you well. I am reaching out today and requesting that you lift Executive Order 175 and remove the mandated masks from our schools.
Schools are an important part of the infrastructure of communities. They provide safe, supportive learning environments for students and employ teachers and other staff. Schools also provide critical services including school meal programs and social, physical, behavioral, and mental health services. Schools have indirect benefits to the community, including enabling parents, guardians, and caregivers to work.
Although children can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus to others, less than 10% of COVID-19 cases in the United States have been among children and adolescents aged 5–17 years (COVID Data Tracker). Compared with adults, children and adolescents who have COVID-19 are more commonly asymptomatic (never develop symptoms) or have mild, non-specific symptoms. All teachers that wanted to be vaccinated have been vaccinated so teachers are now safe in the classroom.
I am respectively asking that you repeal Executive Order 175 so that students can breathe and that at graduation, parents can see their child's face.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter. If you have any questions, I can be reached at 732-269-1100 ext. 3206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Triantafillos Parlapanides
Superintendent of Schools
Earlier this month, a school nurse argued against forcing kids to wear masks and it cost her her job. Erin Pein worked for Stafford Township schools. She refused to wear a mask or enforce the district mask policy for students.
Pein says she watched elementary and middle school students struggle with headaches and stomach aches after wearing masks all day in school. She was initially suspended, then had her contract terminated by the Board of Education.
More NJ Top News for May 20:
- These schools are the slowest to get kids back into classrooms.
- Lawmakers move to extend Murphy's pandemic powers through the end of 2021.
- NJ may offer huge cash prize in vaccine lottery.
- Man wins lawsuit against venue that took deposit for Bat Mitzvah that didn't happen.
- More NJ hospitals are allowing visitors as COVID infections drop.
- Monmouth County will simulate an active school shooter during a drill next week.
- Large scale events and festivals return to the shore for the summer of '21.
- NJ imposes outdoor fire restrictions in the wake of two wildfires.