Dear parents, students, and staff of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District,
A huge amount of effort has gone into the prevention, detection, tracking, diagnosing, treating, and finally vaccinating against COVID cases in NY. Organizing and implementing such a huge project is truly a feat and should never be diminished. Whether one may argue about the merits of such efforts, the mere scale of the project against COVID is impressive. Under conditions of constant second-guessing and uncertainty, public officials had to make decisions to the best of their ability.
Naturally, mistakes have been made and there are those who have taken opportunity to cast blame on people in positions of responsibility for this or that circumstance. We, the Broadalbin-Perth Board of Education, cast no blame and our purpose here is not against any persons or offices. The purpose of this letter is to express our demand to free our students and employees from masks.
Our community has been patient. Our community has followed along with demands made upon us even when it was clear that the circumstances here in Broadalbin are unlike circumstances in the large cities for which most rules are fashioned. Our school district has followed the protocols demanded by state officials and the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH), even when they were confusing. But it is now the considered opinion of the Board of Education that we should change the rules about the masking of children.
The continuing discomfort of wearing masks in hot school buildings is important. The continuing strangeness of not seeing the faces of the people with and from whom they learn and speak is important. But it is the incongruity between the demands made upon them and the larger public, namely keeping them in masks and no one else, in school and nowhere else, that we protest and propose to abolish.
Younger people are less vulnerable to COVID and less likely to transmit it to others. Yet Yankee stadium is filled with 30 thousand unmasked adults and children in Broadalbin-Perth schools are forced to wear masks.
We believe that the time has come to quietly cease.
There is great power in inertia: with great effort and expense the state set in motion a difficult-to-accomplish project. That which is built will continue on its trajectory until some force causes it to redirect. It requires conscious effort to re-orient ourselves and to decide to take another direction.
We have to assume that it is this inertia (and the convenience of rule-makers) that keeps such rules in place. After all, one may say, it’s only another week!
We disagree! It’s a week in the heat wearing masks against logic and reason. This is not about health and safety or science, as anyone can see by watching any number of the events in packed stadiums. Furthermore, we have summer instruction and summer events at schools. These should be done without masks.
Looking to the next school year we see that NY has issued guidance that continues mask-wearing in school. It is the firm opinion of this board that we should not enforce any such rule.
We are duly elected citizens of our community who volunteer largely to continuously answer one question: What is best for kids? We have enough information and perspective to answer this question now. Take off their masks.
We understand that our District has students and staff who, for personal health and safety reasons, would choose to continue wearing masks and we fully support that choice.
Diligent watchdogs from the state and county scolded our Superintendent the last time we tried to cease mask-wearing. We understand their position to be one of uniform compliance and can certainly sympathize with their perspective. Rules are handed to them to enforce, schools are entities of the state, and thus they must be made to comply.
Therefore, we give the Superintendent no instructions at this moment. Instead, we write to all of you. We write to express our strong opinion and desire. We ask you to write letters and emails and make phone calls to your assembly member, state senator, the FCBOH, the governor’s office, and to Elise Stefanik our Congresswoman. They have been sent this letter too.
We encourage you to be considerate and to state the position clearly – we want masks off our children.
Thank you for your continued patience and perseverance. We are constantly grateful to live and serve in our little community and consider it a privilege.
The Broadalbin-Perth Board of Education.
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik
5 Warren Street, Suite 4
Glens Falls, NY 12801
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Senator James Tedisco
636 Plank Rd, 2nd Floor
Clifton Park, NY 12065-2046
Assemblyman Robert Smullen
41 East Main Street
Room 108 City Hall
Johnstown, NY 12095
Fulton County Department of Health
County Services Complex
2714 State Highway 29
Johnstown, NY 12095