Board of Education candidates talk masks, COVID-19 policies

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Dennis Condon, left, Christina Cascella and Jeff Fulchino are three Republicans running for the Board of Education.

MONROE, CT — Justin Orlando, a Republican candidate for the Board of Education who opposes mask mandates, literally wore his views on his chest during an interview at Starbucks Friday morning. His T-shirt said, “Breaking News: Fresh Air is Still Fresh Air.”

He disagrees with Gov. Ned Lamont having sole authority on how the state handles the pandemic, including the executive order requiring masking in schools.

“I am not anti-mask. I am pro choice,” Orlando said. “This forces people to do what they disagree with. The governor is mandating that I mask my kids.”

Justin Orlando

Orlando said he personally does not believe masks are effective against the spread of the coronavirus, but believes parents should have the right to make their own decision on whether to send their kids to school with a mask.

He said parents who favor masks would be just as upset if the governor forced their kids to go to school mask-less. “We should all be supportive of parental choice,” Orlando said.

Orlando, a married father of three, said his children go to school with masks with the exception of his oldest daughter who has a medical exemption, signed by a pediatrician.

His views differ from the other six candidates running for the Board of Education in this November’s municipal election, including those in his own party.

The Sun interviewed all of the candidates, so families who have been grappling with issues during the pandemic can learn where they stand.

Jerry Stevens

Dennis Condon, a Republican running for the Board of Education, and incumbents, fellow Republicans Christina Cascella and Jeff Fulchino, point out that Monroe public schools are beholden to the State on many issues, including COVID guidelines.

“We’re following the governor’s executive orders,” Cascella said.

Jerry Stevens, a retired teacher and incumbent Democrat serving on the Board of Education, also noted the limitations on local decision making.

“I don’t think people understand, when you’re elected to any Board of Education in Connecticut you’re governed by the State Board of Education,” Stevens said. “You’re an extension of the State Board of Education. It’s like an unfunded mandate. Right now, the governor said through Feb. 15 there’s an executive order for masks to be worn.”

Theresa Oleyar and Chrissy Fensore Martinez, two fellow Democrats running for the Board of Education, both favor masks.

“I look forward to the day when my children don’t wear masks in school, of course,” Oleyar said. “But when I see that my children’s own pediatrician has increased PPE recently with an uptick in breakthrough cases, that’s who I’m going to trust that masks and other PPE are effective in reducing the spread of the coronavirus.”

Theresa Oleyar

“The priority has been to make sure everybody’s safe,” Oleyar said. “Personally, I’ll continue listening to all of the stakeholders. This includes people with a different opinion than me. I will take that into consideration, but at the end of the day I’ll listen to our medical professionals and both our State and local administration — and I’m going to follow their lead on that.”

Oleyar served as a parent representative on the Distance Learning Committee, at the beginning of the pandemic, and on the Reopening Committee.

“I think Monroe’s done a great job,” she said. “All our meetings, the amount of effort and work our district put in to make an impossible situation work, it’s really amazing.”

Keeping kids in school

Martinez attributes masks and isolating with preventing the spread of COVID-19 in her household last year — once when her stepson had it in November and another time when she and her husband, Jim, got it on Christmas.

Martinez favors following the guidelines recommended by the experts in the Monroe Health Department, the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — all who recommend that children wear masks in school.

Chrissy Fensore Martinez

She also wants the district to continue following the guidance of Dr. Nimrod Dayan, who specializes in pediatric infectious disease and serves as a medical advisor for Monroe public schools.

“It’s not really an opinion issue,” Martinez said of parental choice on masks. “It’s what the experts tell us to do to keep our kids safe. To me, this isn’t a political issue. It’s public health. I’m not a doctor. I rely on the doctors and the medical professionals.”

Condon said the CDC and World Pediatric Association recommend wearing masks. “Prevention is a good thing,” he said.

“Medically, they’re effective if they’re done right — N95 masks,” Condon said. “But with cloth, you yawn and it can get through. It’s effective, but it’s not perfect. Nothing’s perfect.”

“If you do things in an effective way, it reduces the numbers,” Cascella said of new cases.

Fulchino and Cascella said their preference would not be for wearing masks, but they follow the recommendations of the experts.

“We have a team that analyzes the data,” Fulchino said. “We have experts in place that we rely on at a local level to make decisions. If the decisions were at the local level, we would rely on the experts as much as possible.”

“No one on the board is an expert,” Cascella said.

If decision making was at the local level, Cascella and Fulchino said there would still be an emphasis on having kids learning in school five days a week.

“It’s about stability,” Fulchino said. “I have two kids, who were in second and fourth grades last year. It was very difficult at the elementary school level for them to be socially and emotionally connected. At that level, they learn best in person.”

Both Condon and Stevens noted that the Board of Education’s goal is to ensure the district provides the best education in a safe learning environment.

‘People aren’t used to this’

Martinez said there are many policies to keep kids safe in the town’s schools, the one place where hundreds of students gather for several hours a day, so she does not understand why there is opposition to students wearing masks.

“In schools we have children who are significantly at risk,” Martinez said. “We’re educating kids with medical conditions and other special needs that put them at a higher risk, so I’m wondering how it’s become such a divisive topic, when it’s a simple measure to make kids safe.”

As of September, 520 kids died from COVID-19 in the U.S. and almost 25,000 children were hospitalized from it, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics. Martinez noted that not every State’s numbers are included in that calculation.

“Everyone focuses on the percentage and not that those 520 children are somebody’s baby,” Martinez said. “I’m surprised over the lack of empathy. I don’t want to gamble with children’s lives.”

“We know through real life data that COVID did not spread in schools with masks and in other schools without masks it did,” she said. “I think the Supreme Court ruled that public health overrules individual choice. You can’t just walk into a school and do whatever you want, so I don’t how why this particular topic changes that.”

Orlando said he understands the initial reaction to mask up early in the pandemic, when the country did not have the answers. But now that there is more data and studies, be contends it is not necessary for children to wear masks.

“Statistically, we know children are not at high risk for COVID and they’re also not high vectors of transmission,” Orlando said. “You look at the European CDC and the UK and they recommend not masking school children.”

According to a study on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website, mitigation measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in schools includes “face masks in certain circumstances and for certain age groups.”

In Britain, Young Children Don’t Wear Masks in School,” an article published in The New York Times on Aug. 27, 2021, says:

And they handled the Delta spike in ways that might surprise American parents, educators and lawmakers: Masking was a limited part of the strategy. In fact, for the most part, elementary school students and their teachers did not wear them in classrooms at all.

Instead, the British government focused on other safety measures, widespread quarantining and rapid testing.

Orlando said face masks affect children socially and pointed to a Hartford Courant article, published on Oct. 6, 2021, about the number of children seeking urgent behavioral health care in Connecticut tripling since the summer.

Condon recalled how the country battled polio decades ago, before a vaccine created immunity. “No one thinks twice about the polio vaccine,” he said, adding of the current pandemic, “people aren’t used to this.”

Stevens said he believes in the medical professionals, adding he received both of his vaccinations and plans on getting the booster shot when it’s available to him.

Orlando said his job mandated that he get the COVID vaccine. “I would have chosen not to be vaccinated,” he said.

He said other diseases can be eradicated with vaccines, but COVID-19 cannot be, because it can also be transmitted by animals.

“I think mandating that people take medicine is not the right thing to do,” Orlando said, adding of the COVID vaccines, “if it’s not stopping it, what’s the point?”

21 thoughts on “Board of Education candidates talk masks, COVID-19 policies

  1. As a physician, I feel obligated to respond to Mr. Orlando’s statement that “he doesn’t personally feel that masks are effective against the spread of coronavirus”. I would like to understand his position on masks. There have been multiple studies in peer reviewed medical literature about the beneficial effects of masking coupled with vaccination in reducing the spread of Covid. The New York Times reported on October 5,2021 that there have been 180,000 children absent in the UK (population 67.2 million) in a months time due to Covid and Covid exposures after school mask mandates were lifted.JAMA Pediatrics retracted a study in July 2021 regarding the allegation of the harm that masks caused children, which was refuted due to poor study design and data collection. As reported by the CDC , a small study in Scientific Reports October 1, 2021 showed no differences in cognitive or behavioral changes in study subjects who were unmasked or used N-95 masks. I no longer have school age children, and I know that we have all grown weary of the pandemic with its limitations on our lives but we have an obligation to protect our families and our community from this terrible virus. Soon school children ages 5-11 will be eligible which should help to reduce the spread. Monroe has done a great job vaccinating and keeping Covid case numbers manageable. Mr. Orlando I commend your willingness to serve on the Board of Education, but please keep your facts straight and your personal feelings out of such critical decisions. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility. .

  2. Thank you for your commentary John and while I respect your perspective as a physician, it was not just my personal feelings that I was conveying. All of my commentary was supported by data and documented information which was cited in the Monroe Sun article. While I provided my personal perspective on some of the issues, I offered up facts and data to support my positions.

    The UK and European CDC have in fact removed their mandated mask policy in schools and no longer recommend them for children. Since doing so, they have not seen any increase in covid cases. In fact, they have seen a decrease. Similarly in Florida, the 54 counties that DO NOT have a mask mandate and allow parents to opt out of masking have shown a decrease of 79% of covid cases in school children ages 5-17 while the remaining counties in Florida WITH mask mandates saw only a 77% reduction in cases.

    With all of that being said, the real issue is choice. Why are we taking away a parents right to choose appropriate medical care for their children. Especially when the Hartford Courant article that was cited above shows the tremendous uptick in urgent behavioral health care amongst schoolchildren. What can we point to over the past 4 weeks that would cause a 300% increase in children seeking help for suicidal thoughts and those seeking self-harm? Over the summer these numbers were substantially lower, but since the beginning of school, these issues have tripled. In the article, the doctors and hospital administrators speak to the inability to handle such a surge with potentially suicidal children having to wait in the hallway because there are no rooms available in that wing of the hospital. The real risk to children is not Covid, rather we need to ensure the mental health and well being of our children is put first and foremost.

    Parents deserve the right to choose…period. A one size fits all approach is not what we need…we need a common sense approach that allows the individual to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

    Thank you!

    Justin

  3. I’m not sure where Mr. Orlando got his Florida data, but there is no mention of timing of the decrease or baseline (ie, the non-masked schools could have a larger decrease from a higher baseline, leaving them with a still higher rate than the masked schools), making this data essentially meaningless without context. The data put out by the State of Florida seem to be the exact opposite of what Mr. Orlando claims (source: https://www.fdacs.gov/News-Events/Press-Releases/2021-Press-Releases/Commissioner-Nikki-Fried-Releases-COVID-19-School-Data-Blocked-by-DeSantis-Administration)

    – 2.6 times lower student COVID-19 cases per capita in school districts starting the school year with mask requirements (Alachua, Broward, Miami-Dade) than school districts without mask requirements
    – School districts without mask requirements had nearly twice as many student COVID-19 cases as school districts requiring masks
    – School districts without mask requirements, had nearly 3.5 times higher student COVID-19 peak cases per capita than school districts requiring masks
    – The smallest school districts, without mask requirements, had four times higher student COVID-19 peak cases per capita than in the largest school districts where masks were required
    – Maskless Highlands County’s peak cases per capita (12) were 600 times higher than in masked Miami-Dade and Broward counties (0.02)
    – 0.69 peak cases per capita in school districts requiring masks; 0.98 peak cases per capita in school districts with mask parental opt-outs; 2.31 peak cases per capita in school districts with no mask requirements
    – Five largest school districts had average 0.48 peak cases per capita, while five smallest school districts had 1.82 peak cases per capita

    Perhaps he can check his data and reassess his positions.

  4. Steve,

    The data you are citing is old data. I also noticed you did not address any of the data from the UK or the Euro CDC, nor did you address the mental health statistics directly impacting our children right here in CT.
    My position is parent choice…There is nothing to reassess.
    If you believe your child should wear a mask, please do so, but I ask that we all respect those parents who would like to send their child or children to school without a mask on.

    Thanks,

    Justin

    • Mr. Orlando,
      On reading comprehension skills alone you should be disqualified:
      * From your most recent comment in rebuttal to Steve Krups, and I quote you:
      “The data you are citing is old data.”

      If you have “new” data, that is data less than FIVE DAYS AGO, please let us in on your source.
      *From the press release you claim is “old,” I quote directly from it.
      “UPDATED DATA as of 2pm on 10/7 may be viewed here. Updated key findings within the data include:”

      Furthermore, in your initial comments to Dr. John Iannarone, you ask, with the tacit implication that it’s a rhetorical obvious answer:

      “What can we point to over the past 4 weeks that would cause a 300% increase in children seeking help for suicidal thoughts and those seeking self-harm?”

      The Courant article clearly delineates several causes/factors, but you skip over them entirely, your implicit conclusion it’s because of mask mandates alone is both false and ridiculous. You know what is another cause for these children experiencing mental crises? A disproportionately small group of parents hysterically complaining about masks! And conducting themselves disgracefully in towns throughout CT and the nation, interuppting BOE meetings and town halls, and even threatening members of these boards – public servants and our neighbors. Mask mandates are a public health and safety issue, not a matter of your or anyone’s personal “choice” as you assert. Would you, your wife, your children, or loved ones – god forbid the need – choose to have any surgical procedure in a hospital where the staff weren’t masked? Of course not. You absurdly assert that NOT wearing a mask is “medical care!” Nothing could be further from the truth.
      “Why are we taking away a parents right to choose appropriate medical care for their children.”

      Nobody enjoys wearing masks, but it’s a minor inconvenience and an essential preventive measure. Generations of parents and children before us made far greater sacrifices for their neighbors and countrymen in times of crisis. We somehow came together as one as a nation and endured World Wars, Cold War duck and cover drills, the ongoing War on Terror, we can and certainly should wear masks to ensure the safety of our community. Folks such as yourself place yourselves above the health and wellness of your neighbors and community, and countrymen this even more so than your lack of reading comprehension (or is it just a blatant lie that you don’t expect anyone to fact check?), is a disqualification for BOE.

      • The irony of you mentioning sacrifices for our countrymen while simultaneously believing in forcing people to cover their faces is rather telling. I also find it interesting how radical your views are regarding “reading comprehension” and how I should be disqualified based on your perspective.

        Let’s talk about sacrifices…How about the sacrifices made by the men and women who have died fighting for freedom; the very freedom that allows us to choose what is best for our families? Interesting how those sacrifices are not taken into account when you forcibly apply your mindset onto another. Your views are your own and I support you having them, but at no time am I recommending that you do something against your beliefs. However, that is exactly what you are doing. You are forcing parents who do not want to mask their children to do something they do not want to do….is that right? Is that American?

        If you want to wear a mask Joe, please do so. I support that if that is your choice. But your inability to respect someone else who believes otherwise is the real issue at hand. We live in America…Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. And I am going to do everything I can to ensure those principles are carried through.

        Respectfully,

        Justin

        • Mr. Orlando,
          When you are on an elected Board, especially BOE, you cannot put your personal views in front of the greater good. However this is exactly the platform you are running on. Have you heard from a majority of your peers that this is an issue? I can tell you as someone who is friends with many educators as well as parents, this is not an issue. It becomes an issue with children when it’s made to be one at home. And that is largely a minority position. It disturbs me that the one thing you are running on is whether or not to wear masks? This is a mandate, not made by the local BOE. They are listening to the Governor. I’m perplexed as to how you think your going to override that?
          What are your stances on mandated vaccines for kids? Is that requirement (which is for the greater good) also a “freedom of choice” issue for you?
          What are your stances on the budget? Course requirements? How are you going to make MPS a better place? Because it seems to me you just want to do what YOU want, regardless of anything for the greater good. Public office is not about you, it’s about all of us together.

        • Mr. Orlando,
          There is absolutely no irony in my mention of the sacrifices made by our countrymen – it’s a direct analogy and parallel to the relatively minor inconvenience of the simple act of mask wearing, a small sacrifice in the cause, what should be the _common cause_, of public safety. The only person “forcing” anything here is you. You are forcing your beliefs on the rest of us, beliefs which are in direct contravention of science and public safety.

          “Beliefs” are for Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and of course the Great Pumpkin. But not pandemic material.

          You posture “Let’s talk about sacrifices…” and don’t. You’re certainly vocal about not making any. You simply slide into baseless rhetoric and innuendo with all the buzz words, radical, freedom, etc. – rah-rah! This has nothing to do with my or anyone else’s “mindset, beliefs or wants” – it’s your mindset that is hell bent on forcing your beliefs and wants. It’s not even appropriate, the mask mandate is not even a BOE issue, it’s one well beyond their purview, several layers removed. And yet it appears to be the sole item you’re campaigning on.

          The mask mandates are VERY American – it like all other matters of public safety and health are the direct results of years, and decades of your fellow Americans preparing for and planning for disasters. Many people and many agencies are and have been involved in drafting policies and making contingencies for what is best for public safety under a variety of circumstances. The decision to require masks in schools is not arbitrary, unlike your capricious “beliefs.” But you would have us believe that somehow, your unqualified opinion knows better than the countless many who have dedicated themselves professionally to matters of public health and safety over many decades! That’s just plain hubris at its worst.

          Save your slogans, you don’t have a monopoly on them. What you have is a very self centered perspective, that is sadly unconcerned with your neighbors, your community, your state and your country – hardly a principled position.

          So ya, “let’s talk about sacrifices,” better yet, walk the talk and make a small sacrifice for the greater good of all.
          jg

      • Ms Aguilar,
        Thank you for your comment. Though this article is behind a paywall, it’s opening paragraph is a firm rebuttal to Mr. Orlando’s specious, unsubstantiated and simply put, false claims:

        “ Coronavirus infections among schoolchildren in the U.K. have pushed daily caseloads to stubbornly high levels, a setback that underscores how Britain now trails many of its European neighbors on vaccination after staking out an early lead.”

        Facts matter! Especially in matters of “education!”

        • Interesting Joe…you’ve now openly admitted that you can surmise an entire opinion based on a headline. Really speaks to how your thought process works.

          • Mr. Orlando,
            Remember my earlier comment about reading comprehension?
            What I quoted here was to clarify what the link was all about, a link to a WSJ article which I happened to have at least opened up and investigated, unlike yourself.

            Had you bothered to follow the link, you would have noted that I quoted from the opening paragraph, and not the “headline” as you have alleged.

            Furthermore, the paragraph I quoted clearly states simple fact, not “opinion” as you have alleged.

            So far, Mr. Orlando, throughout the Monroe Sun article and the subsequent commentary, you’ve ironically presented almost nothing but opinion, or as you like to call it, “belief,” and rhetoric, and obfuscation. What you have NOT presented, or presented very little of, is actual fact. Conversely, you have been rebutted several times with actual facts and corrections, but have not risen to the challenge to respond.

            jg

  5. This will be my last comment on the issue of masking children in school, I feel compelled to share this brief but important information from the October 12, 2021 CDC Covid Data Tracker Weekly Review as regards to Covid outbreaks in children ages 11 and under which states “ Weekly hospitalization rates from COVID-19 have recently increased for children ages 11 years and younger. Hospitalization rates among children and adolescents are at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. These increases come as many schools across the country have returned to in person learning. Masks are important for reducing the spread of COVID-19 among children in K-12 school settings. To keep kids safe, CDC recommends masks for all students, teachers and staff while indoors, along with COVID-19 vaccination, and testing and physical distancing.” Mask wearing is a public health measure undertaken during a public health emergency for the good of the community such as the Covid pandemic. It is not a matter of personal choice!
    Sincerely, John P. Iannarone, M.D. , Monroe, CT

    • Respectfully, I could not disagree with you more. It is worrisome to hear a physician say they do not believe in choice.

      Your entire commentary was generalizations. Not once did you cite a single statistic. You reference CDC data but do not actually provide specifics. You also reference masks being an important safety measure…how? What data do you have to support masks in schools have prevented any transmission of covid? I have multiple studies that show no statistical difference between masking and unmasking groups. If masks are so effective, why did we have to quarantine 60+ kids from Fawn Hollow this year? If masks work and there is a mask mandate in place, how did covid spread?

      It’s been 19 months…we have all the information we need. It is time for parents to get their decision making rights back, especially when it comes to medical care for their children.

      Justin

      • Mr. Orlando,
        You seriously need to work on your reading comprehension skills – I’m gobsmacked that you could characterize Dr. Iannarone’s October 13, 2021 at 10:12 am comments as follows:

        “Your entire commentary was generalizations. Not once did you cite a single statistic. You reference CDC data but do not actually provide specifics.”

        Let me break this down for you:

        1. Re: alleged “generalizations” – nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. Iannarone specifically named the publication and date from which he quoted – that would be the words between the quotation marks which look like this ” ”

        2. The article specifically stats not one, but two actual statistics, arguably three!

        3.Dr. Iannarone was reinforcing what the CDC bulletin clearly stated – twice, when yes, he “referenced masks as being an important safety measure.” And you rhetorically ask, “How?” as if that’s clever! Don’t play coy! There is plenty of data and peer reviewed information backing mask wearing as a Covid-19 preventive measure, of be daft! If you seriously can’t find half a dozen, please feel free to reach out to me, I’d be happy to provide you the links as a public service to the town and its citizens!

        4. Speaking of generalizations, your assertion, “I have multiple studies that show no statistical difference between masking and unmasking groups.” is a BIG generalization! There simply are no credible “studies” that use the empirical scientific method (something taught in public schools!) and that have been peer reviewed and approved. NONE.

        Stop with the brinkmanship! If you’re genuinely running for BOE, you should spend some time answering Ms. Aguilar’s very pointed policy, grounded and real world questions regarding the position you’re running for, rather than “forcing” your “beliefs” on us!

  6. While I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Orlando on the impact COVID 19 has had on children’s mental health, I have not found any link between that and mask wearing. As stated above by Mr. Gilgan, the article posted from the Hartford Courant clearly discusses the underlying issues children and adolescents are facing. Educators predicted and planned for what they knew would be an increase in social/emotional/behavioral needs in kids upon returning to the 2021-2022 school year. After a full 18 months of inconsistent in person learning, adjustment back to full time was going to be difficult for so many of our students. School avoidance, mental health needs and hospitalizations have been on the rise for many years. This concern is not new and continues to increase. Here is a story from 2014 which highlights the lack of available beds at Yale for children with mental health needs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCfL9fW4bEg. Parents have been struggling for at least a decade to find appropriate care for their children when it comes to mental health. This is not a new issue. I can assure you, masks are not the cause. In fact, masks and other mitigation strategies are why all kids are safely in school full time again.

    • Ms. Martinez,
      Thank you for your comments and bringing a real world grounded perspective to the conversation.

      While I certainly won’t indulge Mr. Orlando in his rhetoric and “beliefs,” I will acknowledge that mask wearing among children, and adults, has been found in some studies to contribute to a range of emotions including but not limited to anxiety, stress, isolation etc., much of it centered around the fact that we as humans miss certain social cues behind masks – smiles, frowns, smirks, etc. – these are all very nuanced and complex interactions. I believe the Hartford Courant article briefly touched on this. I’m not an expert, but I did want to acknowledge this as not every issue is an absolute and clear cut. We’re humans and we need to understand these things as we deal with this new life during a pandemic.

      But make no mistake, these minor downsides can be dealt with – care, compassion, empathy and all the tools in our human tool box – and the overwhelming consensus on the benefits of masks far out way these minor adjustments and sacrifices that we all are making.

      To be very clear – these same minor “downsides” certainly do not justify the dramatic histrionics and outrageous hyperbole of the anti-maskers.

      Best,
      jg

      • Mr. Gilgan
        Thank you for correcting me. I apologize for not taking into account the impact that masking does have on children. I agree with you 100%. In particular, the impact on children who already struggle with social cognition skills such as reading expressions and body language. This does make teaching those skills much more difficult for our staff. These skills become more and more complex as children get older. In my work, students with very significant needs are wearing masks to school daily with little to no behavioral issues. Some did need time and instruction on mask tolerance, but at this point in the pandemic are doing quite well. What I should have said more clearly in my original comment is that I don’t see a direct correlation between the masks and a need for hospitalizations for suicidal ideations. Students have been struggling for a very long time. Social/emotional well-being is a priority and has been pre-pandemic.
        Thank you for making me reflect on my comment!

  7. Hello, I disagree with Mr. Orlando’s opinion in regards to the lack of evidence showing benefits of mask use by children in schools. He states that it should be the right of each parent to decide. However, he doesn’t address the parents’ rights to have their children be in an environment that provides their children with the safest possible set-up . A school environment that doesn’t have individuals that could possibly be responsible for placing the health of my child and his or her family members at risk without masks ..
    Where is the consideration for society order ? We can’t simply say , ” it is my right ” … when and if someone’s actions ( in this case not wearing a mask ) place the members of their society at risk ? .. That is why we have laws and regulations .. there needs to be some type of order and society responsibility . Just because we have the right to do something ..doesn’t mean we should …
    We have the right to do many things but .. we know that as responsible members of society ..and because our actions can place others at risk …we don’t do them . !!
    The use of masks is for the benefit of the individual and those around them …
    My other concern …..
    I’m very disappointed that the Monroe Sun , during this most recent interview process with the BOE candidates , did not bring up the topic that Mr. Kapoor is attempting to push through as the BOE district policy . This is a very serious topic , which should be on top of the list of questions the BOE candidates should be asked and required to answer BEFORE being the elections in NOV. I and many other parents of children within the town’s schools need and and would like to know what the BOE candidates’ thoughts/ opinions are regarding this transgender policy being pushed by N. Kapoor.
    The fact that such a serious topic is being decided upon by a few members of the BOE is alarming and unfortunate. Many of the members do not even have children within the schools … The parents of the children in the schools being impacted by such a policy, should be the ones voting and deciding on whether or not these policies should even exist.
    However , instead we have this type of system – Which should and hopefully change in the future . It is too late to do it now .. elections are next month.
    This type of matter is just as important , if not more so, as the town’s budget .. there is a widespread election held for that to pass ? why not this policy ?

    How can I vote for anyone running for BOE without knowing their opinions on this matter ?
    This policy , if passed , impacts too many to not be addressed with the candidates .

    Regards,
    Paul

    • Hello Mr. Dias

      I recently submitted a Letter to the Editor on this subject. Hope you had a chance to read it.

  8. To address Mr. Orlando’s comment that 60+ kids were quarantined at Fawn Hollow. I attended the BOE meeting after that occurred and it was stated it did not happen because of masks efficacy status but because they were exposed at lunch when NOT wearing masks. Fawn Hollow pivoted swiftly and changed their lunchroom set up as to avoid this in the future.

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