An open letter to our elected officials…

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Do what is best in good conscience. Have courage to do so and watch how you invite others to be courageous as well. 

I can appreciate and understand the approach of empowering others to make the best decision for themselves and families. Kind of like letting a butterfly hatch out of their cocoon at their own time. It needs to come to a self realization in order to learn how to fly. But the times we are facing now it feels more like wasps poisoning caterpillars and not giving them a fighting chance. The issue of COVID is one that impacts children in multifaceted ways. During these times we need both collective and personal responsibility to go hand in hand. Thus, we need an added layer of protection as a source of mitigation and in anticipation of the many that will fail us and others specifically- our minors. Parents often do what is in the best interest financially for their families given the lack of support systems and/or alienating mis information that is circulating. Therefore, sending children ill and going to work ill with whatever they have. That is no secret. We can keep our economy moving forward and be safe about it simultaneously. They are not mutually exclusive!

I agree that children should not be put in these situations as a result of their parent’s choices. Missing school, being asked to put on masks etc. Time and time again our children are being asked to step up when adults won’t. As a result we must do what is best for them taking into consideration all we know for sure. Do we protect them? Do we let statistics fair out? Those are some tough questions. What I go back to is my own truth and what gives me peace. We can take calculated mitigated risks. Throwing our children with a parachute is better than throwing them without one. Still scary but hopeful. Furthermore, there are over 1.5 million children worldwide whom have become orphans a result of losing their primary caregivers. Not to mention the amount of children experiencing grief because they have lost a close relative to such preventable illness. That is an absurd amount of folks and a lot of avoidable pain that is being experienced. Sure sometimes we have to face pain in order to grow from such, but can we tone it down a bit? 

The excuse that children misplace masks or get it dirty etc is exactly that, an excuse. The schools can mitigate such by education and serving as role models of such. They can also be examples of role modeling empathy and kindness. I appreciate the efforts many gov’t entities and schools are taking towards cleaning which help to some degree. That said we need additional layers of protection masking, social distancing and perhaps glass barriers/plastic barriers as alternatives to masking. Time and science have evolved and there exists many masks that now provide antimicrobial layering  to help mitigate such bacterial concerns. There’s also mouthwash. There’s also lanyards. 

I’m certain of one thing and that is we will not regret instituting additional layers of protection for our children. One will regret though, NOT DOING ENOUGH for our children. 

If FL has a positivity rate between 15-20% that is way too many. We can take the case of Louisiana and Arkansas that has seen a spike in hospitalizations and ICU for pediatrics. (They are ahead of us and are seeing more pediatric covid cases than during all of last year). It will be a matter of days we see such for FL. Again we can mitigate such. Slow down the funnel pipeline. 

Sure, most children perhaps will fair out. Various children will not make it; different strain and unfortunately more contagious. Many will have lingering symptoms. Too many family members will not do well. Most evidently we will perpetuate a super spread and impact numerous aspects of our society social, economic etc. We may also add an additional burden to our foster care system potentially. This is an opportunity for all of us to practice empathy and practice the pause. We can always add additional layers of protection and revise in 2 months once cases go down and/or children have a chance at vaccination. Children deserve better options. 

When will it be too much ? What will you do if it gets out of hand for children, for teachers, for staff, for families … for our communities? 

We can avoid a lock down and remote learning by adding multifaceted ways of protection. Children learn best in person and we can also avoid added turmoil to family units that cause a whole different array of pain, abuse, etc. We are not asking too much. We are asking you to do what is best and mitigate that which can be mitigated. 
Do what is best in good conscience, have courage to do so and watch how you invite others to be courageous as well. 

Excerpts From Articles:

“We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers — and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” said Sonja O’Leary, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Council on School Health. “The pandemic has taken a heartbreaking toll on children, and it’s not just their education that has suffered but their mental, emotional and physical health. Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.” (AAP)

“Florida is one of the most vulnerable states, with 62% of the population in a high vulnerability area. Communities with higher vulnerability have pre-existing economic, social, and physical conditions that may make it hard to respond to and recover from a COVID outbreak.”, (Covid Act Now). 

Additional Sources for Reading:  

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