Alright, alright, alright. News about the Delta variant has been flooding news sites, so I’m sure you already know that this variant is more contagious than the OG virus, and it’s sweeping through people who are unvaccinated. Hospitalizations are on the rise, people still refuse to get vaccinated, it’s a mess. It’s like the fever dream of 2020 didn’t happen, or that we are on some groundhog day like carousel, doomed to repeat last year.
Today I’m not really linking to a historical event, unless you call 2020 history. While it is a historical moment in time, the decisions we made last year still very much inform our present. So what, exactly, is my point?
A number of states have limited, or outright banned schools from requiring face masks during the 2021-2022 school session. This actually enrages me, because we are still determining the effects of Covid on our bodies and on society. We, as a nation, have lost over 600,000 people to Covid, and hundreds of thousands more are experiencing “long-haul” symptoms. We are scratching the surface on covid as a disease, and while we are in a nominally better position than we were last year at this time, we aren’t taking the disease seriously anymore. Or, maybe you are, but your lawmakers aren’t.
Sure. Maybe you’ve been vaccinated. Maybe you, like me, did everything you were supposed to do. You stayed home, you wore a mask, you didn’t go around elderly family members, you sanitized your groceries (no? Just me then?). And, when the time came, you got vaccinated. I feel you. But here’s the issue.
Children under 12 can not yet get vaccinated.
Children under 18 must have parental consent to get vaccinated.
What does this mean for our schools, especially in states that outright ban public health measures in the middle of a pandemic? What does it mean for tracking cases? Or for teachers who want a healthy classroom?
Likely, the best case scenario is an uptick in cases, especially amongst younger, unvaccinated, children. Worst case, it means we are throwing our hands up in the air, and dooming an entire generation because they “deserve to go to a school dance.”
And, I totally get it. Life without a mask is liberating, especially after the constraints of the past year. However, we need to decide what type of society we want to have. Do we want toxic individualism, where everyone does what they want because somehow that’s what freedom means? Or, do we want a society where we protect our communities? Hopefully, if you’re reading this blog you want the latter. And if that’s the case, I suggest you show up for schools.
Showing up for your school
People who are anti-mask and anti-vaxx are already exploding school board meetings. They are loud, and they are angry, and they don’t mind congregating in large groups. If you’re going to have a healthy school for your child/community this year, you need to show up too. Go to the meetings and tell them they should implement masks. Write your district superintendent. Write your local officials. Write your Governors. Get involved!
And, if you happen to live in a state that is requiring masks this year, bless. I’m jealous.
Bottom line. Covid is not over. We have not won. Our youngest children aren’t vaccinated. Wear the fucking mask.