After hearing from a medical adviser, the Miami-Dade School decision on masks is easy

Miami-Dade County Public School leaders need to do a lot of mental and political gymnastics to justify anything other than mask mandates after spending almost two and a half hours listening to medical advice on Monday. ..

There was no room for interpretation. According to the district’s Ad Hoc Medical and Public Health Expert Task Force, masks should be required in the 2021-22 academic years. They agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the organization’s Florida branch, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All of these recommend universal masking in schools due to the highly contagious delta variant and the fact that children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible. vaccination.

Dr. Eileen Marty, an infectious disease and disaster medicine expert at Florida International University, said: “There are no signs that children should not wear masks. They are by no means harmful,” added Dr. Lisa Gwynn, vice president of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Florida branch.

Director Alberto Carvalho is on board. He wants an obligation to opt out of indoor masks for students who are unable to wear due to their medical condition. This was the district’s policy during the 2020-21 school year, he told the Miami Herald Editorial Board.

“I accept all agreements and suggestions from the Medical Task Force without reservation,” Carvalho said.

That’s wise, given that Miami-Dade’s number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people increased by 868% from the end of last year, according to the district.

Political courage

It’s up to the school board to meet on Wednesday to do the same. They must have the political courage to oppose the Executive Order from Governor DeSantis and the urgent order from the Florida Department of Health.

This is not every day The editorial board recommends that the school district disobey executive orders. But when the health and safety of children, teachers and staff is at stake, we have no choice. Public health benefits of requiring a mask to prevent the spread of COVID At school, it far outweighs the potential consequences of confronting a bully governor.

Carvalho and the school board endanger their salary (a penalty that the Florida governor may face) rather than allow children to remove their masks and stop at school. It may endanger the health of other students, faculty and staff in contact. With that child. The school is backed by the Biden administration and states that the district can use federal bailout dollars to offset these financial losses.

It seems that some members of the school board are watching over the governor. On Wednesday’s Board of Education agenda item, six members will co-sponsor and update the Board’s policy to allow supervisors to “investigate” demanding face cover. School cover. “

This goes directly against the guidance of the Medical Task Force, which asserted that there was no reason to opt out. One adviser, pediatrician Dr. Benny Love, suggested that students who couldn’t wear a mask because of their disability might be given generosity, but that’s it. And that’s fair.

Given that some school board members attended the Task Force meeting, we hope that they will revise their proposals to be in line with the opinions of their own advisors.

Governor burning revenge

DeSantis’ excuse to defend his parents’ freedom is thin. It’s like saying that people are free to drink and drive because it’s a personal choice. As with drunk driving, it can harm other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. That is, do not wear a mask to spread the virus. When Florida hits many new cases and hospitalizations that haven’t been seen since the start of the pandemic last year, the school board shouldn’t be at the mercy of a pen stroke by a vengeful governor. “This is arguably the worst Miami-Dade has ever experienced in the entire pandemic,” Marty said.

People can still wear masks to catch COVIDs. It also depends on the type of mask and how well it fits, and as DeSantis has said correctly many times, vaccines are the best tool for fighting a pandemic. However, according to a review of several mask studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “convincing data show that wearing community masks is an effective non-pharmacological intervention to reduce the spread of COVID. It shows that there is. ” The mask protects not only the wearer but also the people around him from inhaling particles.

The mask is incomplete, but it is one of the most effective tools schools need to protect children who are not yet vaccinated in Miami-Dade and older children who have a vaccination rate of about 63%. ..

Of course, DeSantis refuses to believe it. He convened his own group of medical advisors (called the Echo Chamber) for the COVID Roundtable. One of those who have his ears: California psychiatrist Mark McDonald tweeted a meme that saw a child as “child abuse” and wearing a mask as “delayed” in February. Those who are willing to say such offensive language should not help make public health decisions in the country’s third largest state.

This is an easy choice for the Miami-Dade Board of Education. Listen to your expert.