‘I understand that we want kids to have a normal school year, the best way we can do that is by sending them in a mask,’ mother says
The mother homeschooled both her daughters during the pandemic but hoped with a vaccine soon available for children that her kids could go back to school and that she could return to work.
Her daughters returned to class on 21 七月.
“I was really nervous about sending them back there, but I had hoped maybe in September they would be eligible for the vaccine,” Ms Kim told ABC’s Good Morning America. “I had hoped it would just be the month and a few extra weeks depending on when it comes.”
Arizona’s 共和党人 州长 Doug Ducey signed a law on 30 June prohibiting mask mandates to be imposed in schools – one of eight states to do so. Ms Kim said her kids’ school encouraged their students to wear masks but couldn’t mandate it because of the state’s regulations against it.
“I dropped them off at school and I just cried and not because of things that you should normally be feeling when you send your youngest kid off to kindergarten,” Ms Kim told ABC. “I cried because I felt like I was sending her into a petri dish.”
The mother said only two other children in her youngest daughter’s class were wearing masks, and in her older daughter’s third-grade class, only one other student wore a face covering.
“It’s incredibly frustrating because I think schools should absolutely be open. I don’t think that people should have to put their life on hold for a year and a half,” the mother said. “When we look at what public health is telling us, you look at the American Academy of Pediatrics, or the CDC, they’re all saying schools should be open. But also people who aren’t vaccinated should wear a mask.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that masks be worn in schools, reversing an earlier guideline that vaccinated students and staff could be mask-free.
The American Academy of Pediatrics “recommends universal masking because a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines, and masking is proven to reduce transmission of the virus and to protect those who are not vaccinated,” the organisation said in a statement.
Ms Kim noticed two weeks after her children returned to school that Irene would fall asleep during regular daily activities and that she eventually had a 103 degree (39.4 C) fever. After getting tested, it was established that Irene had been infected with 新冠肺炎.
“I’d like to be honest, I’m angry,” Ms Kim told ABC. “And of course I’m sad. And I feel guilty because I had felt so conflicted about sending her back in the first place. And I never should have had to be in that position.”
Ms Kim said Rosalind, 8, has also started showing symptoms but that they have not yet received her test results.
Arizona Public Schools Superintendent Kathy Hoffman said in a statement to ABC News: “It is heartbreaking to learn of a child being infected with Covid-19. It is equally as frustrating knowing that Arizona public schools have lost the authority to fully implement proven mitigation strategies recommended by public health experts like universal and correct use of masks,” Ms Hoffman said. “In June, Governor Ducey signed a law prohibiting schools’ ability to implement mask requirements, undercutting local school authority. This action by Governor Ducey and the Legislature was reckless and short-sighted – and will result in more children testing positive for Covid-19.”
“We have serious work ahead of us to help students recover from the last two disrupted school years, all while keeping them safe, and we don’t have time for political games,”她补充道.
“It’s not hard to wear a mask and it does so much to protect the people around you,” Ms Kim told ABC. “I would really encourage parents to put their kids in a mask. And I would really encourage parents if they haven’t, to get vaccinated.”
“The more adults that are eligible to get the vaccine, the less community spread there will be. And the sooner these kids can get back to a normal life,”她补充道. “I understand that we want kids to have a normal school year, the best way we can do that is by sending them in a mask.”
独立 has reached out to the office of the governor for comment.