Anchorage students may return in January without a mask warrant, but local pediatricians are trying to block him

Anchorage School Superintendent Deena Bishop informed parents on Thursday that when students return on January 3, 2022, face masks will be optional. Wearing a mask has been compulsory since the start of the school year this year.

Bishop, who announced his resignation in November effective June 30, 2022, said with the tiny number of Covid’s it was time to get back to normal.

But whether the school board will move forward is another story. The board has received at least 50 emails from parents and pediatricians opposing the lifting of the mask mandate on students, and only about five emails from those supporting it. At Monday’s meeting, the radical left’s board could take it upon themselves to override the superintendent.

Among those writing to demand the maintenance of the children’s mask is the Alaska chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which wrote a letter to the board on Friday, relying on board members to continue using the mask in schools because “it is imperative that we protect our children by requiring masks where they spend most of their day.” “

Pro-mask pediatricians can be convincing with the board, as they were with the Anchorage Assembly when they embarked on mask policy in October.

Parents who have an opinion on lifting the mask mandate on children may want to comment before Monday’s board meeting. Letters can be sent to the board at [email protected] and to the bishop superintendent at [email protected].

The board of directors meets at 4 p.m. in executive session, and meets in public section at 6 p.m. on Monday. The public meeting can be viewed on the district’s YouTube channel here. Meetings are held in the boardroom of the ASD Education Center, 5530 E Northern Lights Blvd.

The letter from the pediatricians read:

“We are writing to encourage the Anchorage School District to continue to implement AAP guidelines for mask use in schools. As you know, vaccines are the most effective tool we have to end the COVID-19 pandemic, but sadly, this does not provide the levels of protection Anchorage needs at this time. According to the Alaska COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, the number of children ages 12 to 18 fully immunized in the Municipality of Anchorage is currently 53% and the number of children ages 5 to 11 fully vaccinated is 14.3%; these two figures are well below the national average for comparable ages. with these facts in mind, it is imperative that we protect our children by requiring masks in the setting where they spend the majority of their day.

“The AAP clinical guidelines indicate that” wearing a mask has been shown to be effective in reducing the transmission of the virus from those infected. . and that “a significant portion of the student body has not yet been vaccinated. The masks provide protection against COVID-19 for unvaccinated students and reduce transmission. Additionally, new variants have been shown to continue to spread through and to other vaccinated people, making masking a powerful tool to help protect the school community.

“In Alaska, we are not seeing an influx of the Omicron variant yet, but we are still experiencing the continuous wave of the Delta variant. A concern shared by many is that many children will be traveling outside of Alaska for them. winter vacation or welcome out-of-state visitors to their homes. School resumes on January 3 and potentially exposed children will return to class right after the vacation. travel test in place, we could potentially have children with COVID-19 returning to class. It would be prudent to add a layer of security and ensure children are masked at school for at least several weeks after winter vacation.

“Given the effectiveness of safety precautions when used consistently, schools can remain open and safe for children. We know children are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health issues and developmental delays if they miss learning in school due to illnesses linked to COVID-19 or if schools have to close due to epidemics. The best way to keep schools open with children in classrooms is to continue to use best safety practices which include universal hiding of school-aged children.

“The full AAP guidelines on masking and school health can be found here: COVID-I9 Tips for Safe Schools (aaporg). The full document describes current concerns as well as comprehensive recommendations. We invite you to contact our Alaska Chapter with any questions regarding the current AAP guidelines.

Anna Ogena, MD, FAAP

Jody Butto, MD, FAAP

Lily Lou, MD, FAAP

Kevin Kollins, MD, FAAP

Matthew Serna, MD, FAAP

Patti Clay, MD, FAAP

Benjamin Westley, MD, FAAP

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