08-31-21 SCSD2 OKs mask requirement 5 DSC_0135.JPG

Sheridan County School District 2 Superintendent Scott Stults explains the recommendation to require masks to be worn in district schools and other facilities Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, at a special meeting of the district board of trustees.

The controversy surrounding a mask mandate for Sheridan County School District 2 has demonstrated that those opposed to masks don't understand why there needs to be a mandate. It is not primarily to prevent the masked person from catching COVID, rather is is to prevent the spread of the disease from an infected person to the rest of a classroom.

So, the argument that a parent has the right to make health decisions for their own family is not the issue. By not having their children mask up, that parent is essentially making a health decision for all those who come in contact with their potentially infected child. Certainly the fact that masks can decrease the likelihood of infection in the person wearing the mask is a personal benefit, but the primary aim is to stop transmission of the virus.

I understand that wearing a mask isn't always the most pleasant thing to do. As an anesthesiologist, I wore a mask daily for nearly 40 years. Yes, it did fog my glasses. Yes, it was hot at times, but I wore one, not to protect myself, but to potentially lower the possibility of my patient from getting an infection during surgery that could be catastrophic. I doubt that any of those individuals opposed to masks would care to have their surgery done by a team who didn't mask, who didn't scrub, who didn't follow sterile procedure. Those are all done for the other person (the patient) not for anyone involved in the surgery. It is the same with wearing a mask. We do that to decrease the spread of a virus that is not a hoax, that has killed ones we love, that has put close family members on a ventilator for nearly a month, that continues to infect not only the elderly or immunocompromised, but also previously young, healthy children and adults.

When our personal decisions begin to affect the community at large, then someone needs to step up and make those difficult decisions to ensure the safety of all. I applaud Superintendent Scott Stults, Dr. Ian Hunter, and the entire school board for taking that step.

If there are families that don't care to mask, then they have every right to pull their children from school. What they do not have is the right to potentially pass a virus on to the rest of the community.

Dave Schultz


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