The school board refuses to have a discussion over any ideas for dealing with Covid outside of masks and contact tracing, both of which violate parent’s rights and Tennessee law in how they are currently being handled. With the school district building their Covid policy on a discriminatory foundation of removing healthy, non-symptomatic, and Covid-free students from school only because they aren’t wearing a mask, they are both breaking the law and ignoring a wide variety of other solutions.
We have posted these ideas in the past, but it seemed appropriate to provide them again.
1. Clean the air: by both retrofitting HVAC systems with high ionization filters and providing portable air filters in the classroom, the air students and staff breath could be cleaned regularly. This idea was suggested as early as July of 2020 to a variety of school board members, and they were reminded that funding earmarked for dealing with Covid could be used at that time. The Board has yet to act on this suggestion.
2. Pay for highest level of protection: For those looking for maximum risk mitigation, there is a dishwasher safe product on the market called the Narwall Mask. Here is a rank order of protective ability of masks:
1. Narwall Mask
2. Standard N95 mask
3. Surgical mask
4. Cloth mask
RCS could use existing Covid dollars already sent to supply Narwall Masks to parents who want their kids to have maximum protection. With access to the greatest protection available, we only want parental choice (with no double standards or discrimination) protected for those who don’t want their kids in masks at all. With this level of protection available through RCS, every student who wants maximum risk mitigation receives it. With Covid money for RCS already in the bank, and more Covid dollars to flow in from Federal government later this year, this is an actual solution for parents who want maximum protection. Interested parents can learn more about Narwall masks here.
3. Give parents a choice in what school type they would like:
a. Virtual school: currently available
– Expansion (or just filling existing openings) could focus on recruitment of highest Covid risk students and teachers
– In talking with pro-mask folks, many say they are wait-listed for this and don’t know how to move forward.
– A simple outreach program from within these groups could be enough to jump start the process for more people.
b. Traditional school experience
– Limited and defined Covid precautions
– Mostly traditional school as usual
– Parents must opt in
c. Learning “Bubbles” for students whose parents want their kids at in-person school with maximum precautions. This concept is being tried in a few schools around the country as administrators are genuinely thinking outside the box for ways to make sure all families have a choice in how Covid is handled at school. A “bubble” would have the following:
– Separate buildings or classrooms
– Parents sign students up to join, so volunteer only. No one is required.
– Staggered start times or different entrances if at same building. Non-issue if a new building.
– Maximum Covid precautions: no busses, full time masking, social distancing, opt-in contact tracing and self-quarantining with definitive and trackable methodology, and a commitment to self-isolation, refraining from community interactions and activities (restaurants, church, concerts, activities, sleepovers, sports, group play, etc.)