There obviously are political overtones to the debate over whether to wear anti-COVID masks in public, a debate that has erupted in the public schools since Gov. Greg Abbott and Education Commissioner Mike Morath caved in on one of the most important safeguards – besides vaccines – against the spread of COVID.
Much of the debate is driven by selfish, self-centered, me-first, self-entitled parents who don’t want themselves or their children to be inconvenienced, and it is fueled by pandering politicians – beginning with the governor — who are afraid to offend them.
Some of these parents may have children with legitimate health issues that are compromised or aggravated by masks. If so, they should be allowed to get doctors’ notes excusing their kids from the requirement or consider keeping them home, if virtual learning is a realistic option.
But most of these parents either don’t understand or believe the science about the importance of masking during this pandemic or don’t care. Wearing a mask is about protecting other people from the virus as much or more than it is about protecting the wearer. And in schools, those other people include teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other support staff who come in contact with their kids every day.
Because Gov. Abbott delayed giving educators priority for COVID vaccines until pushed by President Biden, many educators are still unvaccinated and some may not be able to receive a vaccine for several more weeks.
Yet, they are still required to be in classrooms, cafeterias and school buses, even in districts where masks are no longer required because their school boards, like the governor, were less concerned about respecting and protecting their employees than they were in keeping selfish parents at bay.