I am a school nurse and a mother of three. I want the world to know that children have suffered enough! According to the CDC children ages zero to twenty have a 99.997% survival rate for COVID 19.
Statistically almost all children infected with COVID 19 experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Requiring children to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth for seven to ten hours a day is child abuse. Masks on the other hand hurt children developmentally, emotionally, and physically.
A child’s brain develops rapidly, they learn from the world around them. Masks impair social interactions during crucial developmental phases partially in early childhood and adolescence. I am concerned we have damaged an entire generation of children.
I find the suffering we are inflicting on children particularly egregious given that study after study shows masks don’t offer protection from COVID-19. In May of 2020 the CDC published a meta-analysis of all randomized controlled studies on facemasks, ten studies were examined.
The conclusion was “proper use of face masks is essential because improper use might increase the risk of transmission” and “no significant reduction in influenza transmission was found with the use of facemasks.” In July of 2020, the Center for Evidence-based medicine at Oxford University published an analysis of randomized controlled studies on masks. T
he study found that “Vietnamese hospital workers who wore cloth masks were 13x more likely to contract an influenza like illness.” The Stanford Study that was just published last month stated that “a meta-analysis among health care workers found that compared to no masks, surgical mask and N95 respirators were not effective against transmission of viral infection or influenza like illnesses.”
Yet another study published in February 2021, a meta-analysis, a systematic review of the impact of personal protective equipment on healthcare workers found that “prolonged use of N95 and surgical masks by healthcare professionals during COVID-19 has caused adverse effects such as headaches, rash, acne, skin breakdown and impaired cognition.” If adults and health care workers have trouble wearing masks correctly, children most certainly do!
Children are not little adults; most are not concerned with proper use of a mask. Teachers have complained all year to me that the students are pre-occupied with the masks, touching and playing with them, and wearing them incorrectly. They shove them in their desks, backpacks and pockets.
I see many children wearing the same dirty masks for weeks on end. This is a direct barrier to learning! Focusing on school was difficult before masks, now masks are just one more roadblock to learning.
Many of my students have been newly diagnosed with anxiety and depression this year. Pediatric mental health providers are overwhelmed; new patients are waiting over 3 months to be seen in my area. The number of children coming into my office with stomachache complaints, most likely related to anxiety, has skyrocketed. A student came to my office after vomiting in class. She said, “I threw up but I’m not sick, this happens a lot.” When pressed for more information she responded, “
When I’m in school and everyone is wearing masks my stomach starts to hurt because I think something bad is going to happen. If I think about it too long, I throw up.” Another student came to my office and told me he “couldn’t breathe.” He had a handkerchief mask tied around his neck.
He stated he had been wearing the mask for two weeks. It was so tight it had to be cut off with scissors! A first-grader came into my office, unfortunately I was tending to another child’s recess wound and could not get to her right away.
When I asked what happened she burst into tears. I went over to console her and removed her mask, shockingly it was full of vomit. My heart sank knowing she walked down the hall, entered my office, and waited for several minutes with a vomit soiled mask. These are just a few of the examples, I have many more. Children wearing soiled masks are at risk of rashes, acne, lip sores, canker sores, tooth decay, strep throat, and/or pneumonia.
By April I had enough. I voiced my concerns to my superiors but the answer I received was that this was mandated by Governor Murphy and wearing facemasks would continue for all.
I tried again by asking to meet with the superintendent of schools to address my concerns about blindly following a dangerous mandate that was harming children, I was ignored. I replied to our school administration,
I stated that I would no longer wear a mask or make the students wear them. Children cannot always advocate for themselves; adults have a moral responsibility to speak up. The superintendent suspended me without pay and my contract was not renewed.
I lost a job that I love because I chose to take a stand and not back down. Protecting children is more important than a paycheck. The community rallied around me, national and local media took notice and shared my story.