Parent: Tweeted photo of mask-less spectators at Hillard game a betrayal that invokes anger

·3 min read
A photo tweeted by Hillard Davidson Athletics showing mask-less basketball spectators has raised concerns.
A photo tweeted by Hillard Davidson Athletics showing mask-less basketball spectators has raised concerns.

I know it is possible for people to respect the direction of their well-informed leaders and comply with masking requirements.

As the delta surged, I spoke at a speculative fiction conference. In order to protect the vulnerable within the community, several hundred people gathered together all wearing masks.

In early December, my church hosted a hybrid music service with everyone masked. To be extra safe, fans were added to direct any aerosols from the masked choirs out the open doors.

More: Which Columbus-area schools are requiring masks?

In the Nov. 2 election, officials managed to have all workers wearing masks and excellent compliance from the community.

Some people did not want to wear masks, but were willing to do it because they were asked and it was important to the community.

Erin Reilly-Sanders
Erin Reilly-Sanders

Over 100,000 flights happen every day with masks and few incidents. Along with air filtration, required masks makes airplanes one of the safest public places.

There has been no widely documented spread of COVID-19 through the convention, the church service, the polling places, and airplanes.

People can act in the interests of their community as a whole when they respect their leaders and their leader’s guidance, especially when supported by an overwhelming number of scientists and health organizations.

I hope, then, that you can imagine my disappointment to see the Twitter photo of mostly unmasked, packed stands from athletic events at Hilliard Davidson High School on Friday, Jan. 14. I am having trouble finding the words to express my sadness and sense of betrayal, even anger.

The CDC has clearly stated that high-risk extracurriculars should be “canceled or held virtually to protect in-person learning,” starting at 100 cases per 100,000 people per day.

The community transmission level is high in Franklin County which means the CDC recommends everyone wear masks in public, indoor settings. Our state reported 20,483 new COVID cases Wednesday, Jan. 19.

More: How many COVID-19 cases have been reported in your Columbus-area school district?

Numerous other organizations guided by epidemiologists, social workers, statisticians, pediatricians, politicians, and educators are stating that masks should be worn in school buildings at all times.

Not only are those negligent gatherings now part of our community, but the post appears to be proud of the packed stands. While the teenage participants have some excuse for their participation, the lack of wise guidance from adults to help students make better choices for themselves and their community is lamentable.

Even if the school board cannot personally accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that masks curb COVID-19 spread, they should at least be able to recognize the need to respect the sacrifices and concerns of their fellow community members.

More: Political scientist: DeWine 'passing the buck,' jeopardizing kids by dodging school masks mandate

Many families are staying home except for school and work, scheduling extra medical assessments of their at-risk children, donating better masks to schools, and trying to find other ways that they can support their community.

The burden of COVID-19 spread is falling unfairly on their shoulders, as they choose to take the moral, virtuous path.

More: Bexley school board lifts mask requirement for outdoor activities

Hilliard City Schools need to reinstate mask requirements for all attendees.

In the face of our current surge, the shift to making masks a recommendation blatantly thwarts our efforts to keep schools open. After-school events should be shut down if students, families, and community guests cannot abide by requests that masks be worn in all school buildings at all times.

Erin Reilly-Sanders has a PhD in education from the Ohio State University. She is part of the Hilliard Parents for Masks, Science, and Diversity Facebook group.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Hillard parent say masks school be required at games and events.

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