Zonta Club of Birmingham urges local schools to require universal masking in line with revised CDC Covid safety advice and to take other precautions to protect our children and their mothers.
The COVID pandemic in Alabama has reached such a crisis that Zonta Club of Birmingham feels strongly that Boards of Education in the state must take every possible step to ensure the safety of all students, teachers, and parents. As a club that seeks to empower women through service and advocacy, Zonta Club of Birmingham is speaking out to urge immediate COVID precautionary actions.
COVID is now “a wildfire” across the state and everyone should wear a mask, warned Dr. Michael Saag and Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, infectious disease doctors at UAB. School systems are currently grappling with the issue and developing guidelines for the school year which begins in a couple of weeks. While we applaud school systems that have recently updated their guidelines to require masks such as Birmingham City Schools and Opelika City Schools, much more needs to be done to protect children, teachers, and parents from COVID spread and infections across the state.
Women are most affected when a child is sick because they often miss work to care for a son or daughter, increasing their probability of exposure to illnesses brought home. Also, a large percentage of teachers are women who will be exposed to the virus at school.
Although children younger than 12 cannot receive COVID vaccinations, their parents can, as well as teachers and staff at schools. Higher vaccination rates, for those eligible, would help protect children by reducing rates of virus transmissions. Only about 34 percent of Alabamians have been vaccinated.
“If they’re going to go back to school, you really should be masking and you should be very hopeful their teachers are vaccinated,” Marrazzo said in an article by Al.com. “And I think that having parents advocate for safe schools with vaccinated teachers and staff is a very powerful tool to protect kids and protect the parents and families they will go home to at the end of the day.”
It is imperative that schools in our state implement measures that will help protect students, parents, and teachers. Zonta Club of Birmingham supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation which advises that all students and staff wear masks and also supports the updated CDC recommendation for universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
In addition, we urge schools to implement six feet social distancing, encourage vaccinations when age appropriate, and offer virtual learning. It is important that schools continue to educate and stress to parents, teachers, staff, and students and children that anyone can be a spreader and should be isolated when exposed. Schools should also stress to students and educators, as well as to parents, that bullying over mask wearing will not be tolerated.
The Birmingham Club of Zonta International is dedicated to expanding women’s access to education, health care, economic opportunities, and safe living conditions. Its mission is to empower women through service and advocacy.
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References & Sources:
American Academy of Pediatrics:
Vaccine Data Source: Alabama Vaccine Tracker USA Facts:
Alabama Public Health: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=d84846411471404c83313bfe7ab2a367
WSFA 12 News (Montgomery):
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