Monday, July 04, 2022

KidsPetition is predicated on the false assumption that yeshiva administrators are actively seeking any frivolous reason to close schools. It suggests that administrators are making decisions in a vacuum, without input from medical advisers, their boards and parent committees. Rather, kudos are due to them for marshalling resources and staff to provide a safe environment following CDC guidelines, which kept our schools open, when public schools were closed.

We are at a time when COVID pandemic pediatric admissions are at an all-time high and the long term morbidity of COVID is not clearly known.

Ben Sandler’s statistical analysis (“A Look at the Math,” January 6, 2022) suggests an infinitesimal risk to the general population cohort, which rings hollow. Your risk is 100% if your child suffers long term effects or death. This is especially tragic when simple use of mask wearing, distancing and vaccination can precipitously diminish any risk. Pre-COVID studies have revealed that mask wearing in school age children significantly decreased flu transmission to the general population.

There appears to be a hidden agenda present. Mr. Mirvis’ spirited defense of this campaign (“In Defense of Our Children,” January 6, 2022) is colored by Mrs. Mirvis’ recent letter to this publication (“Against Children Wearing Masks,” September 15, 2021), expounding false claims that mask wearing is not only ineffective but dangerous. The motivation of the other cosignees can only be ascertained by those more familiar with them.

Groups like this seem to have adopted a new tactic: to denounce and intimidate school boards to advance their agenda, to infiltrate school board meetings, to use them as a platform to disseminate loopy conspiracy theories, anti-vax and/or anti-mask messages. This local effort reeks of this new offensive in the “culture wars.” It has the barnyard bouquet of a solution in search of a nonexistent problem. It is designed to obfuscate rather than clarify, to create heat but no light.

The thousands of dollars spent on these ads could have been used to better advantage to provide additional funding to the yeshivot for, perhaps, mask purchasing. Is it really such a burden that we join together to demonstrate consideration, to act in simple ways to protect everyone in the community? We cannot allow ideological tactics to influence the decision making process of school administrations concerning the health and safety of our children.

Earl Sandor
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