Masks OFF

I am a French citizen teaching at an International Bilingual School in the U.S.A. (I’ll keep my identity and location confidential to not put my job in jeopardy.) I’m writing today because the overreaction  among a group of parents regarding students being required to wear face masks is something I never would have imagined from Americans. I’m disillusioned. Here’s a little background:

Last week we had what you call a “town hall.”  About 20% of the parents came without masks. They argued it’s their constitutional right to potentially infect the rest of us with the Covid virus. They didn’t say it quite like that, but that’s the takeaway. One parent said something about God protecting their child. The mask-wearing group tried to stress civic responsibility, children’s’ safety and respect. A few angry parents shouted them down. It was like they literally and figuratively removed their masks. It was ugly.

This degree of a sense of entitlement, lack of empathy and responsibility is something I haven’t seen before in America. I don’t understand why putting a piece of cloth over the mouth to help stop the spread of a deadly disease is too much to ask. You would think parents were being asked to sacrifice their first-born, which in the end they may be doing by denying them masks. The U.S. Constitution grants its citizens rights, but using those rights in a way that could cause the death of other citizens is inconsistent with what I know of America.

I would like to ask how teachers feel about mask requirements and what the situation is at schools that have opened during the pandemic? Are students and parents wearing masks, social distancing and doing their part to help keep everyone safe, in and out of school?  Or is the personal freedom group endangering the school community and the community at large?

Thanks ISR,
E.

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36 thoughts on “Masks OFF

  1. Taking a broader and non-scientific view–for the moment, just speaking to the culture of the elite private and international school, there have always been, and will always be Parents, who feel entitled, and set their own de facto custom bylaws , rarely sourced from any logic, except their own. That is a characteristic, endemic in the private school sector everywhere INCLUDING France–so don’t even go there with the “disillusionment”. Why don’t you save that for schools who have no water, or where books are non-existent, or non-trafficking laws . I get impatient –with the “my country is better than yours” rhetoric…. when we all know—- no private school ON THE PLANET is exempt from entitled parents.

    Given that premise, the onus falls on the school to set policy and it is the school’s responsibility in hosting an event to ENFORCE policy. They should have been PREPARED -knowing not only are there are always parents-who feel it is their right to challenge school policy–

    -The school knows WHO THEY ARE. Of course, the school knows the squeaky wheels.

    —-The “Constitution” is irrelevant–and it’s silly and a waste of time to to put any credence into that–or to even address it without any analysis, —it just just happened to be the red herring, the most convenient and faux official-sounding excuse for these particular idiot set of parents.

    What the school should have done—was in advance to enforce strict mask-wearing policy and security. Parents should have been advised from giddy-yap that if they preferred not to wear masks were to stay home and attend via Zoom. They should have been advised, that they arrival or attempting to attend without masks –meant being escorted of the grounds and even stricter—terms, if they removed masks, their child would be considered for expulsion.

    Yes, it is that serious. Yes, the school should have used language –like endangering others will not be permitted

    The school was remiss—-not the parents.

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  2. Not wearing a mask is selfish and ignorant. And in saying God will protect their child, does that mean they are saying God loves their child more than someone else’s child?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aaron, you are incorrect about the Constitution stating that any rights not mentioned are then the citizens.

    The 10th amendment states that any right not mentioned in the first 9 devolve to the states, not individuals. I doubt this matters to you, as you have decided that a piece of cloth is some sort of assault on all things America.

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  4. These same people probably don’t follow wearing seatbelt rules, helmets with riding push-bikes or motorcycles, dress codes for restaurants, schools heck probably don’t even wear clothes. Follow health and safety regulations in a workplace. I understand having choice but this is a temporary measure to slow down and keep some of your germs to yourself. Maybe they weren’t taught to cover their mouths when they cough either. When this is over, or significantly reduced mask wearing when you are feeling ill and have to go out should be part of your consideration for others thinking.

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  5. How terrible the parents demand no masks. Those parents won’t pay my bills when I miss more than the puny allotted 10 sickbays per year if I get really sick with COVID-19. I bought air purification units for my classroom and will wear an N-95 mask to protect myself. I will maintain distance and open all my classroom windows. My school was built in the 1950’s and rooms are interconnected through the ventilation system. I will be leaving the profession at the end of my current contract because these conditions are ridiculous.Very sad that others demand to engage in behaviour that puts me at risk

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  6. The issue here is if you had had a nation response to this coronavirus you would probably have just a tiny minority with this no mask nonsense. It’s unfortunate we have such poor leadership in our country because this covid didn’t have to happen here. Our leadership at the top has done absolutely nothing to deal with this instead leaving it to the states to deal with. And turning it into a political issue. There was no covid when the constitution was written so for people to say that is absurd and assanine. Its not your constitutional right to not wear a mask its using your brain to protect yourself and others. The constitution has nothing to do with this what so ever. If we had leadedship in our country this never would have gotten this bad. Can you image if this was ebola?? This isn’t me saying this yhis intelligent people about leadership its military people like Collin Powell, Matthis, Fauci. And now we’ve got a radiologist spewing nonsense as part of the covid task force. Its unreal.

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  7. I always find it hilarious when people try to compare the U.S. to another country. How does one really think they can compare a country with 4 million people, 95% same ethnicity and religion to a country of almost 400 million? There always seems to be an America hating post somewhere…but for some reason, the opportunity to work or obtain a U.S passport is just too good to pass up for these same people.

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    1. Why do you think people only want to go the the US, Stacey? Why don’t the EU countries, the UK or Australia have to deal with immigrants? Come on now. On this website Americans give it out more than anyone else does, so we have to be big enough to take it back too.

      I will say, however, that I agree that we’re not the only country dealing with this. Look at the anti-maskers in Germany storming the parliament. I seriously doubt a country as similar to us as the British haven’t had similar issues.

      So, I don’t think we should feel hard done by with the criticism (look at our covid numbers!!!) but others do need to take a long hard look at themselves too.

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  8. I am not surprised that Americans would think their constitution would provide them with ‘inalienable’ rights like the right to refuse to wear a mask. The constitution is probably the second most misquoted document in the US next to the Bible. The only ones that read the constitution are constitutional scholars. The only ‘inalienable’ right Americans really possess is the right to be wrong about everything they spout. I haven’t lived there for the last eleven years and am glad of it.

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    1. Ms. Machado, Your post shows that you know nothing about the Constitution of the United States. The bill of righhts gives you the right to privacy in your person and belonings. It also, says that all rights not mentioned in the amendments are reserved to the individual citizens of the United States. Sorry to burst your bubble, but privacy in your person means the governent can’t just willy nilly order people to wear something they don’t want to. Secondly the sentence that reserves all rights not explicedly talked about in the bill of rights to the citizens as individuals wipes out your arguement completely. By the way most, not all, but most Americans have a very good understanding of the Bill of Rights probably a much, better understanding than you do!!
      Let me add something else here not about the Constitution, but the law the Americans with Disabilities Act.. In this law public accomadation, must be given to people with disabilities such as someone with asthma, shortness of breath or any other breathing disability. So, if a person has asthma and can’t wear a mask a store, must allow them to come in and shop.. A student with asthma or any other breathing problem would have to be allowed into school without a mask.. You see we Americans aren’t as ignorant of our laws as you think we are!!
      Our Constituion is the oldest written Constituion in the world it gives preference to Freedom and Liberty over goverment Fiat.. It seems that you are actually the one person here who doesn’t know or understand the U.S. Constitution. I would caution you to study something, before you write about, it!! Studying a subject tends to lower the posibility of making yourself look foolish..

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    2. Mr. Grusby, the American government has no problem suspending their Constitution whenever it’s time to start an illegal war, or to spy on their citizens.

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  9. It is interesting that so many of these posts seem to reflect such firm beliefs that there appears little room for debate or understanding that no one really knows a great deal about what is happening and governments are, for the most part, making it up as they go along. Scientific projection models are only models. Does everything in the world have to be so polarised: look at the cancel culture and wars gong on around you. If teachers have such black and white concrete views I feel sorry for the kids: isn’t the job of a teacher to provide views and facts and nurture skills in their kids so that they are able to think independently and critically before drawing their own informed opinions?

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    1. I totally agree with you;
      for me, the problem with this mask thing is more the symptom of a total lack of trust towards politics.And for validé reasons.
      And where is the proof that it helps spreading the virus? Ok, maybe in closed spaces like schools it does.But where is the logic to have to put it outside?! when it’s hot as well and you can hardly breath???
      What will we do if the same politics tell us it’s compulsory to have a vaccine? Will we obey as well??? Without questioning what is in this vaccine? when you know it takes years to develop a vaccine, so that it is safe enough, I don’t find it very reassuring not to question anything and just obey without critical sense.

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  10. OMG, again with the constitutional rights. Clearly delusional and not surprisingly ignorant by choice. Are we not learning anything? The answer is…NOPE..It must be one’s constitutional right to exercise that right to choose to not learn anything. This demographic type, should they contract covid, are going to sue a mask manufacturer for not specifically telling them on the box they bought that they should wear a mask during covid. Remember the guy who got a payout and a free Winnebago? because the instruction manual didn’t specifically state that the driver must not leave the driver’s seat while cruise control is active…nonetheless, thank you for an entertaining read about the stupidity of people.

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  11. Regarding the mask, the parents, the children and social consciousness.

    The fact that the parents who were against masking shouted down parents who were masking is an illustration of bullying at the highest level. This is the example they set for their children. A poor example, indeed.

    Regarding masking in schools, IMHO schools should not be involved in direct instruction under most circumstances now, with or without masks. But if they are open, masks must be required. Those who cannot wear them cannot come to school and must be taught remotely.

    Those who oppose masks refuse the science of community spread. I have an example or two that is not too publicized. The state of Alaska refuses to mandate mask wearing, although some jurisdictions have enforced the practice due to emergency health conditions. In regions where masks occurs, the population is predominantly urbanized and the infection rates are low.. In regions where masking is not practiced nor required, the population is predominantly conservative and Anglo and poorer. Native villages have closed themselves off from the rest of the state because of the feat of the spread of COVID 19 into those areas. There are hotbeds of community transmission of COVID 19 in Alaska that are not publicized. The age groups that have the greatest number of cases are 10-40. There is no public outreach to stop the spread.None whatsoever.

    My point here is that non mask wearing areas are the hotspots of the virus. Twenty two cases today, three cases a few days ago,two high school football teams, the University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey team – all of these are examples of people spreading the virus before being put into quarantine The case of the Sturgis South Dakoata motorcycle rally is a great case in point about community spread and not wearing masks. I would argue that the school i question put themselves in legal jeopardy by not requiring non mask wearing parents to leave their facility during this meeting. May nature help anyone in that room who was had corona virus passed on to them.

    I want everyone in society to show solidarity with the medical community and socially distance, cover coughs propertyl mask, and stay home when sick.

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  12. Satya Arthur, please back up your statements with evidence from reliable academic or scientific sources – it’s what we’d ask our students to do in any IB Extended Essay or IA.

    If you can’t or won’t do that, then why should we accept your comments?

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  13. Satya, You took the words right out of my mouth. Well done! Those to whom your well-founded and wholly supported points are directed are structurally incapable of seeing reason. The problem lies not in their unwillingness to accept medical reality, which is clear enough, but rather their own anxiety. They would be better off seeking therapy. Whatever their shortcomings your thoughtful and sane reply will be the norm before too long. Or to put this all another way….Sweden. It’s funny, in Sweden they seem to have figured out how to look at science with clear heads while remaining remarkably silent about their support for Trump 🙂

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  14. Hard to believe these naysayers and deniers are in education? “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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    1. It seems many have forgotten that education is first and foremost teaching students to learn to have a critical mind and do their own research about the informations given to them. This is normally even more the case in international schools. So what happened? Suddenly teachers have become representatives and agents of the official speech? Without putting in in question? Some things we are told might be true others not. The whole point about education is about learning to think by themselves. If this has been forgotten by some teachers, you might as well go find another job which will require less reflection. Teaching about the medias for instance which have lost all independence since many years and belong, apart for a very few, to private groups and big and very wealthy businessmen. Can’t we question their capacity of objectivity and neutrality in the news they share? This is what I teach my students. Then they decide what they want to believe in.

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    2. We let students do their own research to form their answers?

      That’s fair enough – but what of the history teacher who has the student reply to him “I’ve done my research, and I don’t believe the holocaust happened.”? Our job is not to just let students find stuff out for themselves – what would be the point of us being in the classroom then? – but to guide and steer them to a solution with which they are comfortable.

      And in any case, most students are sensible and understand the basics of wearing a mask – that the virus is spread by small drops when we speak, sing, whatever, and by putting a simple barrier in their way we will be able to stop some drops reaching someone else and slow others so that they don’t spread as far.

      Wearing a mask is not about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting others from you. Kind of explains why people who oppose wearing masks support the ‘right to bear arms’; simple selfishness.

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    3. Guess, What taking care of yourself first is like liking yourself first, before you can help anyone else.. By the way your knowledge of history is shown by commenting”On the right to bear arms ” as selfish!! The right to bear arms is a fundamental human right which comes second in the Bill of Rights to protect the first amendment rights!!
      I know it is fashionable today in certain circles to ignore and many times belittle many of the rights in the Bill of Rights, but the Bill of Rights is what makes America stand out in the world, because in Australia a pregnant woman is arrested, because she spread the word online about a lockdown protest!! It seems in Australia to protest the lockdown is a crime.. Even writing about going to a protest is a crIme.. This pregnant woman was arrested in front of her husband and children.. This situation wouldn’t happen in the U.S., because of the Bill of Rights. Speech isn’t violence, except, if you are asking, people to commit acts of violence..
      All the so called educators here online and you say that you must steer students and guide them on their path to understanding and knowledge.. To be a guide is one thing to steer students in certain direction isn’t teaching, students should be guided in how to do research how to ask questions, but ultimately they should come up with their own conclusions and answers, not be steered in a direction that they may not even agree with. This is brainwashing and that is definately not teaching. By the way, no teacher should steer or push their students in a direction which parents don’t agree with. Parents make those decisions, not teachers.

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  15. As it’s a private school I would assume they can make and enforce what rules they want. But of course they don’t want to see a fifth of their student body leave. And yes, they should be wearing masks of course. I live in a state that is not returning to face to face teaching until next month.

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  16. Yes—it’s a problem. I don’t have an answer. Assess your risk level and make a decision. The us has punted in Covid response. Not gonna change. I don’t agree with it. But, them’s the facts.

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    1. I am a teacher too at an international school. I am surprised that at this stage you still believe the mainstream information about the dangerousness of this virus. Many very respected virologists, epidemiologists, and microbiologists know that the epidemic has ceased to be since last May. So you know that the CDC itself has said that only 6% of the people who were infected died of CoVid? The rest was due to comorbidity and age. Also the organisation has pointed out that no tests must be done on asymptomatic people. So those numbers that are being given to us right now are not relevant at all. An epidemic is called so when hospitals are overwhelmed with cases and the number of people dying. So if some parents show their disagreement with the measures they sure have the right to do so. You mention that they are putting their children and their friends in danger. Well how about the imposition of a mask many hours without allowing the children to breathe natural air even during recreations. Come on has everyone lost all sense???? Kids need to breathe naturally on the contrary. Their lungs not being entirely developed. Authorities will at come point have to answer to these decisions which are more unhealthy than the masks themselves. Respect is also about respecting what everyone thinks or believes. Those that insist on having their children wear the mask do. Those don’t, don’t. So relax and if you are that afraid still, it would maybe be time you go and find out why you are so afraid. Good luck to you. I really wish you the best.

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  17. If you didn’t expect that you don’t know Americans.

    I’m grateful to be living in the only US city to be requiring masks testing and small classes.

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  18. From the rest of the article

    There are also a number of studies suddenly emerging claiming that wearing a mask can supposedly help stop the transmission of Covid-19. That’s important to note. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that wearing a wet washcloth greatly reduces exposure to speech droplets in the air[2]. Another study in ACS Nano observed that well-fitted face masks made of common materials, such as cotton, can filter out between 80 and 99% of droplets, depending on droplet size[3]. Finally, Jeremy Howard, a research scientist at the University of San Francisco, and other scientists have compiled a list of research publications supporting the use of face coverings for reducing disease transmission.

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    1. Interesting to refer to the New England Journal knowing that they have recently biased so many studies. To me this journal which was very respectful has become nothing else that a propaganda journal for Big Pharma. If you still believe what they write about, we’ll good luck to you.

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  19. In Saudi, everyone wears the mask, as there is a significant fine which can be imposed on anyone outside without a mask. Parents come to school with masks. We are teaching online only until November, so we have no issues with students not complying.

    We have a hospital down the street and a doctor from there told me today about 3-4 patients a day are dying there.

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    1. Ah, the old “I know a guy” argument. It’s how all good scientific papers are written. How many patients did the good doctor say died of TB, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, car accidents etc.? Did he happen to show you what their co-morbid conditions were or did you just take his word for it? News flash…people die.

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  20. YOU should read the latest research, which is from the CDC and medical specialists worldwide. Children are one of the major vectors for the transmission of COVID 19 and represent at an risk population as young as 4 years old. The issue here is not biased science, which is the domain of the flat-eathers and no maskers , it is that adults working with children are at a significantly increased risk of infection IF the children don’t respect the distancing and mask obligations. If you believe the BS you’ve spouted, why don’t you have the courage to identify yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said. And for argument’s sake, I am minding my father. If I get COVID 19 he would get it, for sure. I just spent months dealing with my mom on her death bed and I do not need to lose another parent in the same year.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. The science DOES support wearing a mask. You must be from the United States, as am I. However, I see most of the rest of the world taking virus precautions much more seriously. Hence, their mortality rates are much lower. Yes, it does affect “old people with comorbidities” and many of those people are teachers.

    I agree that “the personal freedom group” is endangering the school community and the community at large. Currently, I am still in the US trying to get a flight out to my international school in Asia. I already see schools here starting in-person and a week or so later having to move to full-time online learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. A deadly disease? Please, read a bit of proper non-biased science. Covid19 represents almost no risk to children’s health. Not more than going by car to school, but I guess life is itself “deadly”

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    1. The symptoms are less severe for children and death is rare unless there are comorbidities. But the science is clear that they can be vectors for COVID19. Which means they can pass it on to their parents or elderly relatives, who DO get very sick and die.

      Also, schools are full of teachers, who last I checked were not children. And parents who need to deliver the kids to school.

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    2. You’re deadly in your MAGA hat illiteracy about how the pandemic is being sustained pitifully stupid, and smug proper biased ignorance. Use your real name and stand up for what you spout on here, otherwise FO!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Anonymous –
      So teachers don’t matter in your world?
      Children are vectors and can pass the virus to others including their teachers!
      Just wear the masks – it’s not rocket science.

      Like

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