Originally published August 18, 2021
To the administrators and school boards of the Jewish schools of New York:
There is a large number of parents of students in your schools – some silent, others not – who do not want you to mandate our children to be vaccinated or masked to attend your institution. Our detractors will claim that this position is anti-science or we do not have in mind the best interests of our child or their classmates. This is the opposite of the truth. As we all know, it is the responsibility of parents to put our children’s health and safety first.
The main fear is that the children will spread the virus to the teachers or other adults, but children should not be forced to get vaccinated or mask up to protect adults. Adults must protect children, and for children to be forced to protect adults is logically and morally backwards.
If the issue were children getting other children sick, then this would be a far different letter – but that is not the issue. Children have never been the primary issue with this pandemic. Global data proves this. Science and medicine proves this. To date, according to CDC data, 354 children under the age of 18 have died of COVID-19. In terms of comparison, there are 74.2 million children under 18 in the United States, and total deaths from a variety of reasons during that time numbered 52,672. We are talking about 0.67%.
Every parent’s worst nightmare is that their child will be “the one.” No matter how infinitesimal the odds, there is still that nagging feeling. But that feeling is not one based on the normal risk assessment that parents do every day; it is artificially planted in us by multiple sources, including the media and politicians. If it were natural, no parent who is demanding mandates would allow their child to swim or ride a bus.
The New York Times published an article entitled “We Studied One Million Students. This Is What We Learned About Masking.” It went into detail about the efficacy of masking when the researchers studied North Carolina schools. However, by their own admittance, “Because North Carolina had a mask mandate for all K-12 schools, we could not compare masked schools to unmasked schools.” Even middle school science classes would inform any student that an experiment without a control group does not mean much.
Large institutions are joining the mania. The American Academy of Pediatrics claims that “there is no evidence that use of face masks prevents or delays speech and language development,” despite the fact that no real experiments have been done to prove or disprove that hypothesis. However, they are blowing along with the political winds, as they have done many times over the past few years.
In July, Dr. Anthony Fauci said there is “no doubt” that children 3 and older should wear masks. Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the CDC said the same thing, claiming that “this was not a decision that was taken lightly.”
But other scientists, like Dr. Marty Makary, writing for the Wall Street Journal, have far different opinions. “The Case Against Masks for Children” is a column that should be syndicated in every newspaper in the country, because it not only talks about the lack of efficacy of masking children, but the adverse effects of masking children. “Do masks reduce Covid transmission in children? Believe it or not, we could find only a single retrospective study on the question, and its results were inconclusive. Yet two weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sternly decreed that 56 million U.S. children and adolescents, vaccinated or not, should cover their faces regardless of the prevalence of infection in their community.”
Makary is not an anti-masker; he in fact called for universal masking last year. However, after analyzing the risk-to-benefit ratio, he recommends against mandating that children mask.
Regarding vaccinations, given the low rate of serious illness or death among children, it should not be school policy to force students to take a vaccine that does not have full FDA approval (it is still on emergency approval, so the longitudinal studies are forthcoming but not available yet).
This isn’t to say that parents who want their children to vaccinate or mask shouldn’t be allowed to. This is a plea to leave the decision up to the parents. This is not a situation where the unvaccinated and unmasked will create a dangerous environment. The data just does not support that. This is a parental decision that should not be taken out of our hands.
We know you feel the responsibility of all the children in your charge, and you do not take that responsibility lightly. But parents must protect their children, and parental rights must be respected as well.