Vermont Stands Up, a mask and vaccine freedom advocacy group, is circulating a petition to end the Vermont Agency of Education guidance for a universal school mask mandate on February 28.
The petition reads:
“We, the undersigned, are asking our school officials, from Commissioner Dan French and the State Board of Education, to school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, school nurses, and others employed in our public school system to exercise their duty of ordinary care to prevent students from being exposed to unreasonable risk, from which it is foreseeable that injury is likely to occur.
As such, we are calling for the AOE guidance asking schools to require universal masking not be extended beyond the current February 28, 2022 end date.
Furthermore, we are calling on school boards and superintendents to exercise their agency and acknowledge their responsibility and authority to take immediate action to amend their mask policies to make masking optional for all students and staff.
The Vermont Stands Up website supports its call for lifting the mask mandate with this information:
- At this point in the pandemic, all school children have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.
- Guidance from the CDC recommending N95 masks asserts these types of respirators are more protective, negating the need for two-way masking for those who do not want or need the added protection.
- Masks are not in short supply. The Biden administration has committed to distributing 400 million of these respirators to schools for adults and children who wish to wear them.
- In August 2021, the Agency of Education (AOE) recommended Vermont’s K-12 schools implement universal masking for the first 10 days of the year. Just like “two weeks to flatten the curve,” 10 days stretched to a month, then three months, and now six months.
Under state law school officials owe “a duty of ordinary care to prevent students from being exposed to unreasonable risk, from which it is foreseeable that injury is likely to occur.” Given what we now know, school districts continuing to enforce mask mandates will be breaching their duty of ordinary care. Free will and individual liberties are at the heart of our state and federal constitution. These are an essential contributor to basic psychological needs in relation to an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health.