Masks in schools

Published 10:27 pm Sunday, September 12, 2021

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Letter to the editor

The motto of the Polk County, NC school system is “Doing What’s Best for Children.” The county Board of Education put that commitment into positive action Tuesday night when they voted to institute a temporary mask mandate for all students, staff and visitors.

While the schools have struggled with decisions related to Covid-19 and the Delta variant, the Polk County Democratic Party deliberately remained silent on the matter. We believe in keeping politics out of schools and allowing the school board to make nonpartisan decisions in the best interest of children and families.

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This approach has worked well. The Polk County School System was ranked as North Carolina’s 2nd highest performing school system for 2018-2019 based upon our students’ academic performance. Clearly, our professional educators know what they’re doing.

But a small, vocal group of citizens has waged an unwarranted and unreasonable fight against any common-sense pandemic protocols, hampering the board’s efforts at calm and considered deliberations. This angry and emotional group loudly claims to represent the vast majority of Polk Citizens. They most certainly do not. 

This is not about personal liberty. It’s about keeping students and teachers healthy and keeping schools open. Most civic-minded parents and citizens want our children to be safe. We want to help slow the spread of a disease we still don’t fully understand. And we want our educators to make difficult decisions without insults and demands being shouted in their faces.

There are a total of 115 local school systems in North Carolina. All but seven of them were already under mask mandates prior to Monday’s meeting. Now Polk has done the same, and for good reason. The Polk County Democratic Party applauds the Board of Education for prioritizing the welfare of our children under difficult circumstances. The board truly is doing what’s best for children.

Andy Millard