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Letter: Reader advocates for common sense during pandemic

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I am a parent of a young girl who is so excited to start school that she is sleeping with her backpack. I personally am exhausted by the ever-changing battle of negotiating safety with everyday life and am ready to get back to normal as soon as possible. I have chosen to respect the trusted common sense and small-town values that have protected my family for generations.

My common sense tells me that the only people I should listen to about my child’s health are the people who are held ethically and legally liable to give me the best and most informed advice, that have their own families livelihood at stake, a dog in the race. Therefore, I side with my local pediatrician and personal doctor similarly while my mechanic might upsell me on new tires, he’ll be out of business and in deep trouble if he tells me I don’t need brake-fluid. I think it is common sense that a school that teaches math and science that it shouldn’t abandon its core function when it comes to the safety of our children by ignoring the advice of our nation’s best mathematicians and scientists in the middle of a global pandemic. Common sense tells me this is the ideal time to believe in what the school teaches.

My common sense tells me that since Delta is far more contagious and deadlier and getting more young people sicker that it’s not a good time to reduce the safeguards at school that helped last year as all the other safeguards around town are now gone.

As someone who loves freedom as much as the science that allows me to keep my freezer full of beef and lamb. I passionately believe that our families and children should have as much personal freedom as possible. In the education tradition that I grew up with, I also understand why my child had to have several vaccinations to be eligible for public schooling and has to abide by certain dress codes and while as a kid I loved jumping off the swings at full height, I understand why schools are not open to that fantastic opportunity anymore. While children under 12 still don’t have a vaccine, the choice one family makes is the choice for all families.

I have no doubt that every parent simply wants what is best for their children and owe their children nothing but their best. So, I have pondered the two outcomes and having to explain the worst-case scenario 10 years from now to my child as a common-sense method to help me do what is right today. If I was to choose for masks and they weren’t really necessary — “I’m sorry that you had to wear a mask during that time as I’m sure it made things harder and possibly kept you from learning everything you could, but I did it to protect you and listened to your doctor and our scientists because I love you more than you’ll ever know.” If I were to choose no-mask — “I’m sorry that you got so sick (or your friend did, or a child who died and god forbid the worst-case scenario) but even though your doctor and all the scientists said we should wear masks, I just didn’t think it was necessary.” Common sense tells me that I can live with that first one and see what happens in this country over the next weeks as we face a new challenge in the pandemic.

Matthew Weedman

BKT Associate Professor of Fine Art

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