State Rep. Harry Arora: School policy on masks and vaccines

Posted on July 14, 2021

Hope you are having a nice and ‘normal’ summer. In Connecticut and around the country, the pandemic is under control, and life is getting back to normal. Our educational institutions have to make some key decisions on masks, vaccinations and if virtual classes will be offered. Please provide your input on these important issues by taking a survey HERE. I will share our community’s responses and will advocate for robust policy on these issues.

The key decisions our educational institutions will be making in the upcoming weeks are:

1. Mask mandates: While mask wearing has become optional in general, schools and camps are still insisting on students wearing masks to participate in their programs. The reason being given by schools/camps is that since there is no vaccine available for children under 12, masks are needed to prevent COVID transmission. Many parents believe there are physical and psychological reasons not to wear masks. Moreover, if students are not wearing masks outside school and on weekend activities, there is little efficacy of them doing it during school. Prevention techniques are only relevant when they are done ALL the time.

2. Virtual class offering: Most parents, students and teachers want in-person school this Fall. In addition, many parents believe that the virtual option should continue to be leveraged in special situations during the normal school year. For example, virtual school can be offered to the entire school during inclement weather and/or for health emergencies on an individual basis. However, some teachers and parents think that offering a remote option may distract from effective in person teaching.

3. School COVID vaccination policy: All schools will have to decide on a vaccination policy for students (aged 12 and above). The most important issue being discussed is whether there should be a mandate for the COVID vaccine. The argument against a mandate is that this vaccine is still an emergency authorized vaccine and hence does not justify a mandate.

These issues require thoughtful discussion and decision making. Your input and opinion is important. Please take a short survey by clicking HERE and forward it to other parents who may be interested in these issues.