Letter to the editor: Doctor says school board member misrepresented her statement

Published 3:22 pm Monday, January 17, 2022

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To the editor:
I am a pediatrician in Clemmons and the primary care physician for many children who attend Davie County schools.I was concerned to learn that at a recent Davie County School Board meeting, words from a recent post I made on my practice’s social media account were misinterpreted to suggest that mask wearing is not necessary for our children in schools.
Quite to the contrary, the post that was referenced was instead advocating for improved masking with higher filtration masks (such as surgical masks or KN95 masks) to better protect the wearer.
I have worked tirelessly in my clinic and with writing on our social media platforms throughout the pandemic to provide evidence based, scientifically rigorous updates on how to protect our children and our community to keep us all as healthy as possible during this pandemic.
I would like the record to show that I firmly believe masking is both necessary and the only socially responsible option for children and staff in our public schools at this point in the pandemic.
And to that end, I wrote a follow up post this past week, to explain the multiple reasons that masking in schools (and anywhere indoors in public) is so very important at this time. Those reasons include all of the following factors:
• COVID cases are skyrocketing in our area and across the country;
• even vaccinated or previously infected people are getting infected with this ultra-contagious Omicron variant and can transmit this virus even before developing any symptoms (though thankfully these people are less likely to get severely ill themselves);
• high-risk people live in our communities (many of whom have household members who are school age) and are at risk of severe illness even if they’re vaccinated and boosted;
• All of the kids under 5 years old are not yet eligible for vaccination and are therefore at increased risk of infection (many of whom have school age siblings);
• as infection rates continue to increase, hospital beds (and staff to care for those hospitalized) are limited and wait times for an ambulance and in our ED increase because too many people need care at one time (and we risk having to postpone surgeries and other procedures that delays important care for so many); and
• and to support our local economy, wearing a mask is the best way to keep our businesses open. If everyone get sick at the same time, there won’t be anyone left to man the store.
I was relieved to hear that the board did, ultimately, vote in favor of continued masking in schools and I commend them for their decision. Keeping kids in school is essential to their wellbeing. And wearing masks is a simple and effective measure to help limit the spread of disease and keep our schools safe.
Dr. Caroline Brown MD, FAAP