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GUEST OPINION: Numbers don’t lie — masking makes the difference

By Christina Kafkakis

On July 26, 2021, I spoke at the board meeting’s call to the public on behalf of nearly sixty concerned parents, with regards to the BAS’ return to school letter, asking for reconsideration of the COVID-19 mitigation methods that were planned for the 2021-2022 academic year.

I addressed the board again on Aug. 23, 2021, AND Sept. 13, 2021, respectfully requesting that the district heed to available science and data, and at least require masking for those students ineligible to be vaccinated (11 and under), or K-6.

When I spoke at these meetings, many of my comments were met with jeers and verbal threats from parents and those people in attendance at the meeting that oppose these mitigation strategies. For the first time in my history of attending board meetings, I feared for my safety.

Unfortunately for our students, the majority of the board appeased the requests of the most-vocal, threatening crowd, and a mask mandate was voted down. We begrudgingly sent our children to school in masks, knowing they would be in the minority, and knowing that masking works best when everyone wears them.

On Nov. 5, we received notice that my 6-year old-daughter, a first-grader who has never attended school without wearing a mask (entire year of K and so far in first grade), was exposed to Covid-19 TWICE in one week.  On Nov. 10, she tested positive for COVID-19, (only 38 days into the school year — she has been quarantined twice — the same number of quarantines as all of the 2020-2021 school year.) 

Throughout the year, I’ve been taking screenshots of the Covid-19 reporting data, since our district reporting sheet doesn’t show a history. I decided to tabulate and graph this data. The numbers demonstrate that in-school transmission is definitely occurring, and that the numbers increased when the new Alternative Quarantine was implemented. 

Compare these numbers to LAST year. What is the main difference?

Masking.

To say that masking does NOT mitigate spread is an obvious inaccuracy.

Just today, the MDHHS issued a Face Mask Advisory for the holiday season. 

AGAIN, I respectfully ask that you please heed to the available science and data and institute masking, at least until the winter break. 

Christina Kafkakis of Brighton has four children attending Brighton Area Schools.

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