Archives for category: Safety

The Washington Post editorial board published a statement condemning Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ fierce opposition to mandates for masks and vaccinations. He wants to run for President as the candidate most like Trump.

It wrote:

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, has descended to a jaw-dropping level of cynicism. At a news conference on Monday, he announced that if local governments in Florida impose vaccine mandates on their employees, he would fine them $5,000 for every worker. Then he stood silently by as Gainesville city employees made false claims about the mRNA vaccines that have saved countless lives during the pandemic.

Although the wave of illness from the delta variant appears to be receding in Florida, the state has suffered a terrible summer toll of hospitalizations and deaths. A governor facing such a cataclysm might naturally be expected to use all methods to keep people safe. Instead, Mr. DeSantis, an ally of former president Donald Trump, has for months been campaigning against mask and vaccine mandates and actively sought to prevent business, government and schools from imposing them. These are vital tools to save lives in the face of a highly transmissible disease, but the governor insists that everyone should have the right to make their own decision. He casts himself as a defender of personal freedom.

This is a favorite argument of Republican governors and others, including Mr. Trump, who last year amid lockdowns was tweeting “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and other states. But personal freedom does not give an individual the right to hurt others. Those not wearing masks and refusing to get vaccinated are spreading the virus and overcrowding the nation’s hospitals. They are the majority of those who are dying. This is not freedom; it is recklessness.

While some parents are disrupting school board meetings to protest mask and vaccine mandates, a parent group in Los Angeles thanked the school board for mandating COVID vaccinations to protect students, teachers, staff, and families from a deadly disease.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2021


CONTACT: Jenna Schwartz, Co-Founder, 310.994.9764 (c); PSTLAUSD@gmail.com Nicolle Fefferman, Co-Founder, 323.376.6513 (c)
Parents Supporting Teachers Supports Vaccine Mandate for LAUSD Students

Parents Supporting Teachers (PST), the largest parent advocacy group supporting Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers and families, announces its support for the district’s recent approval for a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for eligible students. The vaccine requirement goes one step further to ensure the health and safety of teachers, staff, and students.
“We have been waiting for this and fully support the requirement that all students in LAUSD get vaccinated once they are eligible. With positive cases being reported weekly, the single best Covid mitigation measure is to ensure everyone in the community is vaccinated, both inside and outside of schools,” said Jenna Schwartz co-founder. California law already requires all students in both public and private schools to have certain immunizations, the Covid vaccination would be one more added to the list. It is imperative that in conjunction with this mandate, the district commits to educating and informing reluctant families about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

“I am thankful to our Board members for taking the necessary steps to protect teachers, families, and students. The district prides itself on having the safest safety protocols and mitigation measures among all school districts nationwide, including requiring that all teachers be vaccinated by October 15th. Requiring vaccines for students was an appropriate next step and one more added layer of protection we haven’t had yet this year.” said co-founder Nicolle Fefferman.

“At this point there is no denying that being vaccinated is the best defense against Covid-19. While some vaccinated people can still get infected, evidence shows that the vaccines are effective in reducing transmission and preventing severe illness and death. Not only that, but we do have students and staff unable to get the vaccine because of underlying health conditions. This policy helps protect these students and staff by building the community’s immunity to Covid. We hope families will feel safer about sending their children to school,” Fefferman added.

Parents Supporting Teachers also opposes the upcoming California governor recall election. Republican candidates have vowed to rescind mask and vaccine mandates for schools, and if successful would allow Covid 19 to spread throughout schools and our communities, putting the health and safety of all teachers, students, and families at risk.

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About Parents Supporting Teachers: Parents Supporting Teachers is a parent education advocacy group in Los Angeles with over 25,000 followers and is the only organically created group of this size exclusively dedicated to parent communication and education support in the entire LAUSD. Visit http://www.parentssupportingteachers.org to learn more and support our shared vision for equitable and inclusive LAUSD schools.

Hospital workers gathered outside Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, New York, to oppose a vaccination mandate. The hospital leader said that 82% of staff were already vaccinated.

They should go into another line of work. They could pick up the virus at work or bring the virus into work. If they refuse to abide by public health requirements, they don’t belong in medical care facilities.

those who gathered around the Route 58 traffic circle outside Peconic Bay Medical Center – Northwell Health Saturday, holding signs that said “Let Me Call My Own Shots,” “My Rights Are Essential,” “From Hero To Zero,” and “My Body, My Choice, My Rights,” said they had concerns about the mandate.

Mike Hathaway, who lives in Coram and whose wife is a nurse, was among those participating. “It’s not even about politics anymore; it’s about freedom of choice. Letting people decide what’s correct for their own bodies.”

By the rhetoric they use about “my body, my choice,” you might think it was a pro-abortion rally.

Perhaps they could find outdoor work at one of the North Fork’s wonderful farms or vineyards, where they won’t endanger anyone else.

New York State mandated mask-wearing in school. Six students arrived at school in Islip without masks. They were directed to a separate room. Their parents showed up promptly and called the police. This is a story that is repeated, in various ways, in districts across the nation, as parents debate and fight over whether their children should follow public health guidelines.

This is the question: why don’t these parents object too vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, polio, smallpox, and other contagious diseases?

On Thursday morning, six Islip Middle School students came to school without masks. When staff asked them to put masks on, as required by current New York State health rules, the students refused. They were escorted to a room with a security guard when, according to the Suffolk County Police Department, a parent of one of the students called police, who arrived at 9:50 a.m…

Islip Superintendent Dennis O’Hara issued a statement about the incident: “The safety and well-being of our students and staff continues to be a top priority,” he said.

In a Facebook group called “Moms for Liberty—Suffolk County,” parents against school masks compared the district’s actions to “segregation.”

Mike Klonsky writes about the public schools that were closed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel (recently appointed as Ambassador to Japan). Emanuel ordered the closure of 50 schools in one day, something never done before by anyone. The reason given was “underutilization.”

Now, in the midst of the pandemic, Chicago public schools are overcrowded.

Klonsky writes:

Back in 2016, there was a plan to turn Dett into a center for women and girls or an artist incubator but potential buyers for the building backed out. So CPS was stuck with it. Neighborhood students were instead assigned to nearby Herbert or enrolled in charter schools.

Today students are back in school in Chicago with classrooms packed to overcapacity. Many schools are overcrowded with some kindergarten classrooms stuffed with more than 30 children, a horrifying thought in the middle of this deadly pandemic when there’s not yet a vaccine available for young children.

The lack of available classroom space forced the board to roll back its distancing requirement from six feet to three feet “wherever possible” with unmasked kids often eating together, shoulder-to-shoulder in school lunchrooms. In the high schools, we’re seeing images of students, many unvaxed, packed together in crowded hallways between classes.

I can’t even imagine being a short-handed teacher, trying to keep up with 32 or so kinders, keeping them masked and at least three feet apart, all the while trying to do some great teaching. And yet, like so many heroic doctors, nurses, and front-line medical staff, teachers are giving it their best shots. But I doubt this mode is sustainable.

CPS is operating in crisis mode in a churning sea of divisive state politics, racial segregation and inequities, all exacerbated by the resurgent Delta variant.

Schooling in a pandemic and preparation for post-pandemic schooling offers a chance for school planners and educators to take a more holistic approach and to try and undo the damage done by the mass closing of schools a decade ago.
The idea that we still have boarded-up school buildings and schools in some neighborhoods with excess classroom space, while in others, students are dangerously jammed together, is mind-boggling.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the state of South Carolina for its law banning mask mandates, on grounds that such a ban jeopardizes students with disabilities.

The ACLU released the following explanation:

Right now, schools are resuming during yet another pandemic surge. And in some states, instead of working to keep students and teachers safe, lawmakers are deliberately rejecting urgent public health guidance.

One key state to watch is South Carolina, where a budget provision passed this summer that prohibits public school districts from requiring masks.

South Carolina’s law endangers everyone, but particularly targets students with disabilities that put them at higher risk for severe illness, lingering disabilities, or even death due to COVID-19. As a result, lawmakers have effectively excluded students with disabilities from public schools.

That’s why we’re calling on the courts to intervene. This week, we filed a federal lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s ban on mask mandates in schools, on behalf of Disability Rights South Carolina, Able South Carolina, and parents of students with disabilities.

When schools are prohibited from taking reasonable steps to protect the health of their students, the parents of children with disabilities are forced to make an impossible choice: their child’s education, or their health.

And under federal disability rights laws, public schools cannot exclude students with disabilities, nor can they segregate them or offer lesser services by requiring them to learn from home.

Let’s be clear: Schools are obligated to give students with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from a public education. State politicians cannot override federal disability rights laws.

SC’s law flies in the face of public health guidelines from the CDC, from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, from the American Association of Pediatrics, from the American Medical Association, as well as advice from hundreds of physicians and educators across the state. All recommend universal masking.

Refusing to follow public health guidelines disproportionately endangers students with disabilities who have health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19.

Regardless of where you live, what happens in a state like South Carolina – which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country – impacts all of us. We won’t stop fighting to guard our civil rights and liberties during this pandemic – in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Please stay tuned for more updates and thanks for all you do.

Suzan Mizner
Pronouns: She, her, hers
Director of the ACLU Disability Rights Program

The state of Michigan allows school districts to determine their policies on masking, which is a terrible idea since it politicizes decisions in each district. The decision about masking and vaccinations should be made by public health professionals, not laymen.

In Ottawa, Michigan, a crowd of hundreds of anti-maskers showed up to a meeting of the County Commission to protest the decision by the school board and the Health Department to require that children from preK-6th grade, who are not yet eligible for vaccinations, must wear masks. Carol Burris of the Network for Public Education shared a tweet with me, which had gone viral.

After I listened to this enraged and threatening rant, I read more about Ottawa County. Dr. Rob Davison testified in favor of the masking requirement, and when he left the board meeting, he was confronted by hundreds of anti-masking parents.

The chair of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners released a statement critical of those who came to the meeting to “bully and intimidate” anyone who supported the mask mandate that had been recommenced by the local Health Department.

On August 9, the county Health Department reported that the COVID risk level had increased from “moderate” to “substantial.”

Only a few days later, on August 13, the Health Department announced that the COVID risk had gone from “substantial” to “high,” the highest risk level.

Public health officials urged citizens to take all necessary precautions, including wearing masks indoors. They said:

The spread of the delta variant is most likely fueling the increase of positive case rates in Ottawa County. The delta variant is causing concern because of its high rate of transmission and severity of illness.

The virus is infecting mostly unvaccinated people, though breakthrough cases in vaccinated people are emerging.

“The delta variant is spreading quickly, increasing the number of positive cases reported in Ottawa County,” said Derel Glashower, Senior Epidemiologist at Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “The delta variant has pushed us into the ‘high risk of transmission’ category so it is important to take extra precautions to protect ourselves and our community.”

In light of the worsening situation, on August 20, the Health Department mandated masks for all students in Pre-K to sixth grade in schools.

The goal, health officials say, is to protect vulnerable people and those who can’t get vaccinated from the virus, slow the spread of the virus and keep kids in classrooms. 

“This was a necessary decision as we are seeing rapid increases in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant,” Kent County Administrative Health Officer Adam London said in a Friday statement. “It also appears as though this variant may be more likely to cause serious illness and hospitalization, so we need to take precautions to keep our children healthy and in school.”

Despite all these warnings by public health professionals, large numbers of people in Ottawa County oppose masking their children.

Several parents at the recent County Commission meeting were seen with posters that said, “My body, my choice.” One can’t help but wonder if they support abortion, given their stance. One doubts it.


A circuit court judge in Leon County, Florida, ruled that Governor Ron DeSantis had exceeded his authority by preventing local school districts from mandating masks. Governor DeSantis must not interfere with the right of school districts to protect the health and safety of students.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP) — School districts in Florida may impose mask mandates, a judge said Friday, ruling that Gov. Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority by issuing an executive order banning the mandates.

Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis’ order is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. The governor’s order gave parents the sole right to decide if their child wears a mask at school.null

Cooper said DeSantis’ order “is without legal authority.”

His decision came after a three-day virtual hearing, and after at least 10 Florida school boards voted to defy DeSantis and impose mask requirements with no parental opt-out.

Cooper said that while the governor and others have argued that a new Florida law gives parents the ultimate authority to oversee health issues for their children, it also exempts government actions that are needed to protect public health and are reasonable and limited in scope. He said a school district’s decision to require student masking to prevent the spread of the virus falls within that exemption.null

The judge also noted that two Florida Supreme Court decisions from 1914 and 1939 found that individual rights are limited by their impact on the rights of others. For example, he said, adults have the right to drink alcohol but not to drive drunk. There is a right to free speech, but not to harass or threaten others or yell “fire” in a crowded theater, he said.

Wrong! Leaving little kids vulnerable to a deadly virus in the middle of a pandemic is really child abuse.

Every state has vaccine requirements for children entering school. Parents do not protest against these vaccines. What makes the coronavirus vaccine different from the many other required vaccines?

Here are the vaccine requirements for children entering school in Tennessee:

The Tennessee Department of Health is responsible for immunization requirements for those who attend child care, pre-school, school and college. The current immunization requirements are in the Tennessee Department of Health Rules.

The Official Immunization Certificate is available in local health departments through the Tennessee Immunization Information System (TennIIS).

Detailed guidance for healthcare providers on the rules and certificate is available at the TennIIS website. Tennessee healthcare providers who give vaccines can register as authorized users and download the form through TennIIS.

The state’s immunization schedule follows the current schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

A brief summary of the required immunizations for child care facilities and schools is listed below.

Children enrolling in child care facilities, pre-school, pre-Kindergarten
Infants entering child care facilities must be up to date at the time of enrollment and are required to provide an updated certificate after completing all of the required vaccines due no later than 18 months of age.

  • Poliomyelitis (IPV or OPV)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) – age younger than 5 years only
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) – age younger than 5 years only
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella – 1 dose of each, normally given together as MMR
  • Varicella – 1 dose or credible history of disease
Required Immunizations

Children enrolling in Kindergarten

  • Hepatitis B (HBV)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP, or DT if appropriate)
  • Poliomyelitis (IPV or OPV) – final dose on or after the 4th birthday
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella – 2 doses of each, usually given together as MMR
  • Varicella – 2 doses or credible history of disease
  • Hepatitis A – total of 2 doses, spaced at least 6 – 18 months apart

All children entering 7th grade (including currently enrolled students)

Children who are new enrollees in a TN school in grades other than Kindergarten

  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP, or DT if appropriate)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (2 doses of each, normally given together as MMR)
  • Poliomyelitis (IPV or OPV) – final dose on or after the 4th birthday now required
  • Varicella (2 doses or credible history of disease) – previously only one dose was required
  • Hepatitis B (HBV) – previously only for Kindergarten, 7th grade entry
  • New students entering grades other than 7th grade are not required to have Tdap

Full-time Tennessee college students

  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (2 doses of each, normally given together as MMR): if born on or after January 1, 1957 only.
  • Varicella (2 doses or credible history of disease): if born on or after January 1, 1980 only.
  • Hepatitis B (HBV) – only for health science students expected to have patient contact (before patient contact begins).
  • Meningococcal – At a minimum of 1 dose given at 16 years of age or greater if enrolling in public institution for the first time and under 22 years of age and living in on-campus housing; private institutions set their own requirements for this vaccine.

Children with medical or religious exemption to requirements

Medical – Physician (MD, DO) or department Public Health Nurse authorized to indicate specific vaccines medically exempted (because of risk of harm) on the new form. Other vaccines remain required. The medical reason for the exemption does not need to be provided.

Religious – This exemption requires a signed statement by the parent/guardian that vaccination conflicts with their religious tenets or practices. If the child needs documentation of a health examination for the school, it must be noted by the healthcare provider on the immunization certificate. In that case, the provider should check the box that the parent has sought a religious exemption to explain why immunization information is absent or incomplete.

These are the required vaccines in New York State:

Vaccines required for day care, pre-K, and school attendance

  • Diphtheria and Tetanus toxoid-containing vaccine and Pertussis vaccine (DTaP or Tdap)
  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • Polio vaccine
  • Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine

Additional vaccines required for middle school and high school

  • Tdap vaccine for Grades 6-12
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY) for Grades 7-12
    • Students in Grade 12 need an additional booster dose of MenACWY on or after their 16th birthday

Additional vaccines required for day care and pre-K

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine (HiB)
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (PCV)