I fully support mask mandates within schools to limit and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. This is not a difficult ask, and it helps to prevent much more serious consequences. We do not fully understand all the risks of COVID-19 in children, especially higher risk groups such as immunocompromised individuals. Masking helps to protect all of us: children, teachers, support staff, families, and the general public. I have children under 12 who do not yet have an approved vaccine that they can get. Masking is one of the few tools that this group has access to.
It would be better if we had an education program that resulted in herd-immunity vaccination levels instead of mandated compliance. I support vaccine mandates for staff and any individuals eligible for vaccination because we need to place the needs and safety of the many, and the most vulnerable, above the wishes of the individual while our community risk is high. The goal of such a mandate is not to fire the uncompliant, but to work with people to provide the best information and educate people on this so that they choose this protection for themselves and their families. There are many activities that are not allowed in schools and people accept this as part of the social contract. Reducing our chances of carrying extremely infectious materials into our schools is an acceptable requirement. I recognize that some individuals may have legitimate reasons that a vaccination is not viable for them (e.g., immune-compromised or immune-suppressed due to organ transplant, etc.), in these rare cases I would support alternate arrangements for those unable to be vaccinated, while ensuring that alternatives do not place others in any greater risk. I am in a workplace where vaccination is required.