Superintendent Bell, please reconsider your message to parents

| 08 Sep 2021 | 04:37

    To the Editor:

    I recently posted this on Facebook and sent in a message to Superintendent of Delaware Valley School District, John Bell:

    I am writing to you as a citizen of Pike County and a member of the Milford United Methodist Church. I ask you to reconsider your recent message to the parents of children attending DV schools. I am concerned that your voicemail to parents regarding applying for exemptions to the state mask mandate will leave you open to some litigation and could already be in violation of the mandate for not indicating that all students applying for exceptions would be asked to wear face shields, have desks with plexi shields, would be kept a minimum of six feet away from others while unmasked or lacking a face cover (things of this nature) prior to being given an exception.

    I see where the Pennsylvania Department of Education advises school leaders to follow current protocols for medical exemptions, but I believe you missed the section immediately before that, where you are required to exhaust all other safety measures first, such as face shield, distancing, etc. To suggest to any parent not wanting their child to wear a mask in school, that they will be allowed to simply send an unmasked child to school for some indefinite amount of time awaiting some medical exemption, with a simple phone call to the school, seems inconsistent with the purpose and spirit of the mandate. To allow any child for a length of time to be unmasked for any reason until they are officially exempt does not seem to be the right message and may leave the district open to litigation.

    It does only take one child to become ill for a liability issue to arise. I realize these are difficult decisions to make and communicate to those in disagreement, but I pray you will re-examine your message and re-align with a “do no harm” strategy for our community and most importantly the children.

    Thank you for listening.

    Liz Steen