Open Letter to Legislators on potential school mask mandate
Hello Ms. Hogan & Mr Eldridge,
My wife and I reside in Stow and wanted you to hear our voices regarding mask mandates. We heard there is a bill working it’s way through that mandates masks for children K-12 at schools. We feel foremost that the numbers speak for themselves on young people regarding ANY variety of the COVID. They may get it but the deaths and hospitalizations are more likely to happen from a lightening strike or auto accident.
A quick look at CDC stats shows 406 nationwide K-12 deaths with COVID (keep in mind they count it a COVID death even if you were hit by a car and died but tested positive) from 1-4-20 to 7-24-21, 19 months! In the year 2019, 12 months, 2400 died in automotive accidents aged 16 to 19. This also from the CDC under transportation safety. Are we advocating for no teen licenses even though the death rate is 6x that of COVID??
I do hope you and your fellow lawmakers take a look at this. If the rationale is the fear of spreading to teachers and parents – there was a reason teachers were at the head of the vax line. As far as parents being scared of getting it from their kids, let them dictate to their kids to wear a mask or if they want, wear one themselves.
We need to move away from protecting those who choose not to protect themselves. We choose to be vaxed, why should we be penalized for those who choose not to? Finally, and circling back, look at the numbers and they do not justify having kids mask up. Please stand up for something that makes sense.
We want normal.
Mark and Kathy Flinkstrom, Stow
New Climate Law Has Implications for Stow
Our state legislature recently passed and the governor signed into law comprehensive legislation to help us combat climate change: the Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy. Now that we have a law, the hard work of achieving the aggressive emissions targets begins and this can’t wait.
To date, there has been little action from the state to reach out and partner with communities on the implications of this law. The new law sets aggressive emissions limits for 2030 in the electricity, building, and transportation sectors. Achieving new emissions targets will require community awareness and action. But across the state, many town officials and most residents are not aware of the new climate law and any implementation specifics from the Baker Administration.
We need our leaders at town and state levels to recognize what needs to be done and develop a campaign to help communities and residents to prepare for the critical actions that must begin now. For example, by 2030, we need to achieve emissions reductions of at least 50%. Since buildings and transportation are the main sources of greenhouse gases, the new law effectively means that 50% of all buildings should be using heat pumps for heating and cooling and not fossil fuels in 9 years time. But many towns, including Stow, are currently considering proposals for new housing developments using traditional gas or oil heat. This means we will just make it harder to achieve our emissions reduction goal. And every year, towns like Stow have to purchase new town vehicles and make decisions about school and municipal building projects. Each time we choose to use conventional fossil fuel technology, we again make it harder to achieve our goal by 2030 — or the even more stringent goals for 2035 and beyond.
Climate change won’t wait and neither should we. We need more communication and leadership on climate goals from Beacon Hill, and we need our town and its residents to begin taking on the necessary steps to begin the changes. While we need leadership from the State House, our town is taking action by setting up a Green Advisory Committee. This will have members from many town boards as well as town residents. This committee will prepare a Climate Action Plan for Stow among other actions. You can volunteer to join the committee by sending a letter of application to Select Board’s Office at email@example.com or 978-897-4515.
Rick Lent, Sustainable Stow
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