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  • Masks at School? The perspective of a CF parent.

    Posted by jenny-livingston on July 16, 2020 at 10:00 am

    This post, shared by McKay and Stacy Allen of Utah, went viral on Facebook and the story was picked up by news media throughout the western United States. This is a topic I’ve seen so much discussion about, and I thought it might be helpful to share their insight here on the forum (with their permission).


    With all the discussion about masks and schools in Utah, I thought it would be useful to share our perspective.
    Why? Because Evan wore a mask EVERYDAY to school last year as a Kindergartner.

    This post isn’t meant to be some big political statement, but we’ve actually experienced what everyone is fretting about, and here was our experience with it…

    Background: With Evan’s Cystic Fibrosis, a regular flu or cold will likely put him in the hospital. Put it this way: if he coughs or has a runny nose for more than a couple of days, he’s going on an oral antibiotic. If that doesn’t work he goes inpatient for 14 days for IV antibiotics. (Which sucks and disrupts our family in profound ways–and to be frank–shortens his life expectancy.)

    The year prior….during the 2018-2019 school year (preschool for him) he was hospitalized for a total of 28 days in a 9 month period. He was constantly sick. But we want him to be ‘normal’ and have a normal childhood experience, so we wanted him to go to school. But he was constantly sick. Parents would let their kids come to school regardless of how sick they were etc. We ended up pulling him out for long stretches during the winter and through the Spring. (He also had a sinus surgery and pancreatitis which didn’t help). Additionally, he was on at least 6 rounds of oral antibiotics during that school year.

    So, last year (2019-2020) we agreed with Evan that he would wear a mask every day to Kindergarten. He was totally fine with it because he wanted to go to school. Stacy worked with the school and the teacher to put some special cleanliness requirements in place: he wiped down his desk with Lysol wipes 2 times per day, he didn’t share ANY supplies with other students, he wore a mask all day every day, the entire class washed their hands when they arrive and several times throughout the day AND, most importantly, the school allowed us to send a letter home to parents explaining Evan’s situation and begging them to keep their kids home if they were sick. This worked really well. On the few occasions when someone sick would come to school, the teacher would text Stacy and she would go get Evan and take him home for the day.

    (Stacy Allen and Evan even took his big vest that shakes him in to show the class how it worked and even let them try it. It drove home the fact that he needed their help to stay safe and healthy).
    And guess what. It’s been 13 months since he was hospitalized and he’s only had 1 round of oral antibiotics during that time period (which is the best stretch of his life).

    Also, the teacher said it was the healthiest class she’s ever had in her career. Imagine that: washing hands, telling sick kids to stay home, and encouraging masks helped keep kids healthy. Weird.

    Point is this: we’ve actually experienced what everyone is freaking out about.

    And here were my observations:

    – 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐥 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞. It just is.

    -𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐬–𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞–𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐝. And little kids will happily wear them IF mom and dad don’t make a huge big deal about it. If you are talking about how dumb it is, they’re not going to wear their mask. But if you just make it part of normal life, they’ll be fine.

    – 𝗗𝗢𝗡’𝗧 𝗦𝗘𝗡𝗗 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗞𝗜𝗗𝗦 𝗧𝗢 𝗦𝗖𝗛𝗢𝗢𝗟 𝗜𝗙 𝗧𝗛𝗘𝗬’𝗥𝗘 𝗦𝗜𝗖𝗞. It’s absurd. And I was guilty when I was a kid. I was perfect attendance throughout elementary school and high school. I don’t think I missed a single day of school….which is insane. I was probably sick 5-8 days per year and should have stayed home. Schools need to stop rewarding perfect attendance. It’s ridiculous to encourage kids to come to school when they’re sick. STAY HOME IF YOU’RE SICK…LIKE AT ALL.

    – 𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬- Kids should be made to wash their hands multiple times per day in the classroom.

    – 𝐊𝐢𝐝𝐬 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦, even little kids. Just this week Evan told me ‘I don’t even realize I’m wearing a mask’ (I asked him to put one on to go into a store with me). I don’t want to hear someone say “little kids can’t wear masks”. They totally can.

    – 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐧𝐨 𝐢𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐨𝐱𝐲𝐠𝐞𝐧 𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐬. (If it did you’d have a bunch of neurosurgeons wearing masks and operating on brains who aren’t getting enough oxygen).

    Anyway, that’s what we learned with Evan wearing a mask last year, and doing basically what everyone will do this year.


    Thanks Allen family for sharing your perspective!

    Do you have concerns about the upcoming school year? Do you think it’s reasonable or feasible to implement mask mandates and social distancing measures? Will you be option for online learning instead? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    jenny-livingston replied 3 years, 9 months ago 0 Member · 0 Replies
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