Are you in a state that prohibits mask mandates in public schools? You can complain!

[Update:  If you are in a school district where they are mandating masks for under 12s (or older), send a letter or email or call supporting that decision.  Because they’re hearing from crazy people right now and could use some support.  See comments for one school committee member’s plea.]

I am extremely worried about my unable-to-be-vaccinated middle-schooler going to in-person school in a few weeks.  After a couple of weeks with unusually low numbers of new cases, we’re back to creeping up from orange territory even though the college students aren’t back yet.  We’re not in red or purple yet, but we didn’t have case counts this high this time last year and they exploded deep into purple two weeks after the university started back up.

Last year the 5/6 middle-school that DC2 will be going to had low numbers of case counts with masking and social distancing in place (comparatively).  Not so all of the schools (overall 6% of students in our district were out of school for covid reasons and 17% of staff were and the other middle schools had higher numbers than ours).  And, indeed, the big difference I could see between the high school we’re zoned for which had the largest numbers of case counts compared to the other high school in our area that had much lower case counts (almost 2x, even though the student body sizes are similar), was that the principal of our high school would send out group photos of kids with most of them unmasked and the other high school’s principal didn’t.  I suspect that’s correlated with whether or not the mask mandate was actually enforced.  The circumstantial evidence suggests that masking and being careful about social distancing leads to less transmission.  And, despite what crazy anti-maskers say, that circumstantial evidence is backed up by actual science.

This year there won’t be a virtual school option.  And, because case counts at DC2’s upcoming middle-school were so low and spread out last year, we didn’t think we needed one.

But then our state government said that state-run schools (including K-12 and including the university) are not allowed to have mask mandates.

And then all the news saying kids under 12 would get a vaccine in the fall switched to saying, just kidding, approval won’t happen until winter.

Middle school is a time of strong peer pressure.  If the school can’t have a mask mandate, then people will assume they don’t need to wear masks.  If enough people don’t wear masks, then kids on the margin will stop wearing masks.  Kids who do wear masks will be made to feel uncomfortable until they, too, unmask.  Heck, I went into work this summer and wore a mask and felt uncomfortable about it AND the secretaries were kind of rude to me, and I’m an adult with a PhD. (My plan is to wear masks in hallways etc. so other people feel more comfortable doing so, and only take my mask off in rooms if I know that everyone else in the room is vaccinated.  At least until DC2 gets the vaccine.)

I am really worried.  Yes, I know my kid is 9 and probably won’t get major complications.  But I also didn’t eat cold coldcuts during pregnancy.  Some 9 year olds are going to get major complications.  Masking seems to be the same kind of cost-benefit analysis as microwaving my coldcuts, and if we’re looking at this from an epidemiological viewpoint it will *save lives*, not just of infected under-12s but also all the people they come into contact with.  And if you don’t care about the lives of the unvaccinated, masking in schools will also lower morbidity of the vaccinated who still catch covid.

On top of that, kids are growing and losing a sense of taste seems like it could have overall effects on say, growth.

We don’t have to be silent about these worries.  We don’t have to take them as given.  We can complain.  There’s still time for a last minute exemption.  Once one ultra-conservative governor flips, the rest will too (especially if the FL governor makes a switch) because they’re all idiot copy-cats.  Worried “soccer moms” (or just parents in general) are still considered to be a voting bloc.

Who do you call?  You can find your elected officials here.  If you have state legislators or state representatives, that’s a great place to start.  You can also call your state governor, especially if he’s eliminated the ability for K-12 schools to have mask mandates by fiat/executive order rather than it going through the legislative process.

If you’re brave, call during business hours.  If you’re like me, call after hours or in the wee hours of the morning and leave a message.

It doesn’t really matter if you ramble or if you have a perfectly crafted statement that you read out.  I tend to do both– I need the statement to start with because I’m so bad on the phone.

My script:
Hello, my name is [Firstname, Husband’s last name]. I’m calling from [City, Zipcode] where I am a constituent. I’m calling to request that school districts be allowed autonomy regarding mask mandates, particularly for schools that have kids under 12 who cannot be vaccinated. I have a [9] year old who is unable to be vaccinated and I am incredibly worried. Last year with masking and social distancing, 6% of the student body and 17% of staff got covid. Without masks, those numbers will be much higher for the unvaccinated population, which includes my [daughter/son]. I am very worried about her/him catching covid, especially with this new Delta variant which is more contagious. Even if (s)he doesn’t get very sick, (s)he could still lose his/her sense of smell which might affect her/his growth. Also, last year, because of masking, the school was able to not quarantine entire classes if someone got sick. Now the choice is either to let covid run rampant or to quarantine the class every time a kid gets sick, which will be very disruptive to their learning. The American Academy of Pediatrics [and just now the CDC] just came out with a statement recommending masking in K-12 schools and the FDA just said kids under 12 won’t be able to be vaccinated until winter. Please remove the order prohibiting schools from requiring masks so that school districts can make decisions based on the covid numbers in their area and healthcare recommendations. Again, I’m calling from [City, Zipcode].

After that I had some worried rambling. Because I am extremely worried.

If you don’t want to call, it is better to email than to do nothing.

If you’re super awesome, write a letter to the editor of your local paper about the problem.  I’m not that awesome, but I did call.

You can also call or email your school super-independent to ask what they intend to do and encourage them to lobby the department of education to lobby the state government.  I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes, but I am sure that being able to say that they have frantic/worried parents of kids under 12 can only help these decisions.  DH has that on his list to do this coming week because he’s a hero.  (He also called our elected officials last week.)


Are you worried about school starting in your area?  What’s your state’s situation in terms of masking in public schools? Do you also feel like nobody cares about or even remembers kids under age 12?


53 Responses to “Are you in a state that prohibits mask mandates in public schools? You can complain!”

  1. Jen Says:

    I’m in a republican state that has a recommendation to mask up (by our democrat gov) that is being ignored by all districts. I have two kids in elementary school and the principal of the school informed me that there will be no masks and no social distancing. When asked (by me) if they will reconsider given the rise in cases (we are in a red county) and low vaccination rates (less than 40%), he stated that they plan on doing the minimum required by law.

    Furthermore, he said that several doctors have told him that masks don’t work(!). I am not allowed to request a vaccination teacher and there will be no effort to group masked kids together in the classroom because they anticipate so few kids masking that they don’t want the kids to feel punished. The conversation ended with him saying I am free to homeschool them.

    In addition to the principal, I called our school district headquarters and was told (again) that it is unclear that masks work and they are confident that kids are safe. I have called our governor with a request to mandate masks in schools. This is so discouraging and stressful and I am sad that I find myself disliking the people in my area so much. My husband and I are both academics so it is difficult/impossible to move.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s awful. I’m glad you made calls. I wish I had advice. What are other people at the university doing? Does your state have any virtual charter schools?

      • Jen Says:

        The school district has a homeschool option that they always offer. The virtual option through our particular school is not being offered this year. We homeschooled the girls last year due to Covid and it was ROUGH so we are hoping to avoid that. We have been playing up the return to school for six months so my girls would be crushed if we pulled them out at the last minute (school starts next week). My husband and I have tentatively decided, and warned the girls, that we are pulling them out if there is an outbreak.

        I have one colleague who is pretty worried and is sending her kids masked with fingers crossed but my other colleagues are not concerned….they are thrilled that the government is not oppressing their freedom of choice. Ugh.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Our state has virtual charters that are not through our school district. I haven’t been able to figure them out (or to sort out the wheat from the chaff), but in theory that is an option for us if things get bad that would be more workable for us than would homeschooling. (As I am reminded this week when DC2 doesn’t have a virtual camp to go to.)

        I’ve also put DC2 on a list for a vaccine trial in a city a couple hours away, but we probably signed up too late. (I was feeling so optimistic– mask mandates seemed to be working in middle school and the news ways saying DC2 would be vaccinated in October!)

  2. Chelsea Says:

    We are in Florida and… ugh. I’m not sure what we are going to see when we go back to their “mask optional” elementary school in a little more than a week. There are a lot of parents at my kids’ school who *are* pro-mask in school, and I don’t think that “punishing” kids for wearing masks would be tolerated. But I’m very worried that lots of cases are going to disrupt the school year (not to mention make someone very sick) and, because the governor nuked our virtual option, it’s going to be even harder to make a pivot to online if our kids end up quarantined.

    There have been a lot of protests at our local school board to make masking mandatory for the unvaccinated younger kids. Honestly, right now my level of activism has been to push hard to get both my kids in the classes with the most pro mask parents.

  3. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    When I wrote this we were orange. Now we’re back to red and hospitals are full again. Thankfully the uni is starting late this year so we don’t have college students returning right now.

  4. gwinne Says:

    Our district, thankfully, has a mask mandate for K-6 and social distancing requirement in place. The problem here seems to be if you have an unvaccinated 6th grader (your situation, I realize). There is one virtual class offered per grade level K-5. Once the vaccine is available under 12 they plan to phase that out.

    So…I’m not worried about my kid IN school. I am worried about him in the general world that is going around without masks anymore.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We have an unvaccinated 5th grader! State government took away the state’s ability to fund virtual schooling, so there are no options. One of my former students who works on the budget says the state is just sitting on federal covid money doing nothing with it.

      Even without virtual schooling, if the situation was what it was in May of last year, I would be feeling fine sending DC2 to in-person school.

      • Leah Says:

        I truly don’t understand why a state would sit on money. What is their end game there? Are they so spiteful about partisan politics that they want to deprive their citizens of benefits passed by a Democratic president?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        “Are they so spiteful about partisan politics that they want to deprive their citizens of benefits passed by a Democratic president?”

        YES. See also: Medicaid expansion. And with Citizens United, they don’t actually have to care about their constituents anymore, just their donors. And with Fox News and so on, anything bad can be spun as Democrats’ fault.

  5. slnoonanj Says:

    I’m on our school committee here in MA, and I am already getting swamped with letters from anti-maskers. That’s not going to affect my decisions – I believe we need masks in our schools this fall – but it can feel really overwhelming. I hope our governor mandates it, but I am not too hopeful – even though he’s a moderate Republican, he’s still a Republican. I guess I’d just like to say that you should send an email not just in places where mask mandates are not enforced or allowed – please also send them even if you think your district/principal/administration is supportive. Those letters mean the world to us.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s a really great point.

      If you’re in a Blue State, send your school district/principal/administration a supportive email about masking. Because the people who don’t care if children die or the pandemic is prolonged and the people who are brainwashed by bad guys are sending nasty letters.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Also, stay strong and thank you.

  6. gwinne Says:

    The worst thing I’ve seen lately was a sign, in my mother’s *Blue state* neighborhood, that reads “follow the science; unmask the kids.” Yeah.

  7. First Gen American Says:

    Bangs head against wall. Our average daily cases in our entire state were as low as 30 not that long ago and now we are more to than 10x that even with almost 64% fully vaccinated and 73% with at least one dose. So frustrating that we were approaching zero and the unvaccinated a-holes are messing it up again.

    I am going to sound whiny but I am super annoyed at how many license plates I am now seeing visiting from low vaccination states. I never used to see Alabama plates in MA. You like our herd immunity and are willing to ruin it to get away from your own mess. Thanks people. This is never going to get behind us as long as there are pockets where the virus can mutate and thrive.

    • Ilike Beets Says:

      Yep, in Massachusetts too.
      Look at P-town.

      Waiting for all the colleges to open….fingers crossed. Most should be vaccinated but who knows.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Are state unis in MA allowed to mandate the covid vaccine?

      • Sarah Says:

        The state university that I teach at in MA has a COVID vaccine mandate, and I think most of the others do as well. Hopefully the students won’t be as much of an issue as the tourists.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        That’s so great. College students are definitely a demographic that we want vaccinated. They’re risk takers and they move around a lot.

      • Ilike Beets Says:

        I can’t comment completely on mandates but more and more institutions are here…including hospitals, nursing homes etc. I am surrounded by UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke….there will be issues I’m sure, but I’m guessing(hoping) less than shit hole states like Florida. Massachusetts has been doing great overall but things are not looking so great anymore. The rural school district I live in is requiring masks I believe.

        Seriously cannot imagine living in a red state for all of this…and that’s with encountering enough Massachusetts residents who are trump supporters and anti COVID….this all really sucks!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yeah, I wanna move.

    • sarah Says:

      Same in San Francisco; we were down to 0-2 cases a day, with over 70% vaccinated in June, until I started noticing all the out of state license plates from states with low vaccination rates and no masks, not surprisingly the rates started to increase. Most everyone in SF followed the rules all spring only to have it ruined by vacationing science-deniers. Hopefully the numbers can start decreasing when summer break is over. Whine away, I say.

      Anyway, I believe California has mandated masks for all K-12 students when indoors and required vaccinations for the UofC system. I believe some school districts have even stricter measures in place. My child cannot get vaccinated until October, but as mentioned below, could pass for 12 and we may try and get the vaccine before school starts.

  8. Leah Says:

    I’m also worried about the fall. Cases continue to be low(ish?) in our area, tho I also know that there’s an undercurrent of “just don’t go get tested” to keep numbers low.

    People rarely mask in our town anymore. Some of it is that we have a pretty high vaccination rate. I think we are right under 70% of eligible adults vaccinated (or maybe eligible 12+?). But I still worry about my kids, who will be in 2nd grade and all day pre-K. We plan on having them wear masks until they can get vaccinated, but I don’t know how much our pre-K kid will comply. For our 2nd grader, I’m sympathetic to people who don’t like masks (we don’t like them either), as I notice she is much quieter and more timid with her mask on.

    I really, really want them to go to school. They both do so much better at school. I am not great at managing learning for multiple kids at different levels. But I am concerned. I do a lot to keep them safe from other risks — car accidents, drowning, poisoning, etc. This is a continuation for me. I would be shocked at all the people who don’t care, but I also see tons of people do unsafe car travel with kids, and car travel is about the riskiest thing kids do. Lots of kids who are 6-8 and in the front seat with no car seat, almost everyone forward faces between ages one and two, etc. We rear faced until age 4, and our 7 year old is still in a high back booster.

    This whole thing has been, and continues to be, ridiculous. Honestly, as a biology teacher, it’s my worst nightmare — a country full of students who didn’t pay attention in class.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      70% is amazing! We’ve been stuck at 40% since shortly after 12+ could be fully vaccinated.

      Oddly, I can’t remember the last time I saw a small kid in the front seat or a kid without a carseat. Our state has pretty strong laws on that, and of course everyone has enormous SUVs and trucks.

  9. Lisa Says:

    Sadly, although I would like to believe that people in my community will do the right thing, I am finding myself circling the wagons again and feeling like we can’t rely on anyone but ourselves. Our state legislature banned mask mandates under any circumstances. In my department at the state university, we’ve made it clear that masks are still welcome, even if they’re not required, and most people I work with on a regular basis are both fully vaccinated AND wear masks indoors (even before the CDC’s advice yesterday). I can wear a mask when I teach and get tested weekly for free. Cases are high and rising, hospitals are full, and there’s a bit of a sense that the unvaccinated are just tempting karma at this point.

    BUT – as you say, there is a very important group of people who cannot be vaccinated yet, and I agree that everyone seems to be forgetting about them. The messaging is very strongly focused on “getting vaccinated” and the general public around here seems to have given up on masks entirely. But my 6-year old can’t be vaccinated. I feel like we’ve been so careful to keep everyone safe for so long but now all of a sudden no one cares about the kids. I’ve been agonizing about this for a while, and have another month to do so before school starts. We will have an online option this year, but not at the local school. I’m looking into private schools in the area that will follow the (real) science. I could homeschool, but after doing that with my 6th grader last year with mixed success, I’m not excited to become a 1st grade teacher on top of my day jobs. Doesn’t sound like the school district will have a plan ready for a couple of weeks. I will certainly write to the school board, superintendent, and governor. I’m not sure it will do any good to write to my state representatives because they are a blue minority in a heavily red state and are always outvoted on everything, but I can do it. Overall, I feel like I’m on my own again this year.

    I was pretty despondent when I heard that vaccine approval for kids will be pushed back. Homeschooling for a month or two would have been much more tolerable than homeschooling for much of the year. We’re seriously considering getting my youngest vaccinated “off-label” when the vaccines receive their full FDA approval, which will hopefully be soon. It seems a bit extreme, but again, I feel like we’re on our own in navigating all of this. No one is looking out for the vulnerable.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:


      How do you get a child vaccinated off-label? Is there a black market?

      Thank you for contacting your bureaucrats and politicians! And see above: your reps will appreciate the support for doing the right thing since they’re probably hearing from bad people telling them to do the wrong thing.

      • CG Says:

        Our county doesn’t require proof of age, I happen to know. So if your kid could pass for 12…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We can now only get shots through pharmacies. Zie is tall for hir age but more like passing for 10, not 12. Hm.

      • Lisa Says:

        I know a doctor…

        How crazy does that sound – black market vaccinations for kids? What is our world coming to? Sadly, my 6 year old can’t really pass for 12 even though they’re tall and mouthy.

      • CG Says:

        I mean, we had all kinds of conversations about how we normally believe in always telling the truth, but in this case it wouldn’t hurt anyone and it would keep hir safe. Yuck. Yes, it’s crazy that we can’t trust adults to protect children so they can be safe even if they can’t yet be vaccinated.

  10. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    I wrote to our school board last week to encourage them to require masks for everyone; as far as I know, now that the CDC guidance has changed, that is in fact what will happen. (I am somewhat concerned about what happens the next time CDC offers bad guidance…)

    I’ve included the data parts of my email below in case anyone wants to use it. For reference, all three of my kids went to in person school last year (Feb-May) and will be going in person this year; my personal concern level is not super high. But I am concerned that going maskless will get EVERYONE sick, and then the schools will close AGAIN.

    * Delta is more transmissible than other strains; median 4 day incubation (
    * Vaccine effectiveness of Pfizer/Moderna for delta is probably around 80% ( though it may be much lower (
    * Attack rate is at least 20% for random public sample ( and household transmission is about or greater than 50% (,
    * Imagine that one person- even a vaccinated teacher – contracts covid, and is not wearing a mask. (If 10 teachers are exposed, two will get it and at least one will be contagious.) A minimum of 20% of their class will get covid (20 students –> 4 kids) and they will then give it to 20%(if all vaccinated) to 50%+(if not) of their households (say households of 4 –> 3 to 8 people) so it could take 8 days to go from 1 case to 13 cases and that’s if the teacher only teaches one class.

  11. bogart Says:

    Hunh. This is interesting to read, and thank you for the reminder that we should be complaining to and/or thanking our officials, depending on their behavior (we might be complaining to some and thanking others).

    My state overall isn’t great — vaccine rate in the mid-40s, and cases, unsurprisingly, climbing. But schools can mandate masks; we’re in a blue, (not to mention affluent, elderly, over-educated) area, and my county is in the mid-60s on vaccines, with the entire school system K-12 requiring masks indoors and encouraging them outdoors. So, I need to write thank-yous, clearly. On it.

  12. Lisa Says:

    On a related, but more trivial (?) note, I was talking with my Mom last night, who reminded me of a place we went on vacation regularly when I was growing up. I could immediately smell the pool there in my imagination – memory and smell are so tightly linked. Even if my kids “only” COVID symptoms were loss of taste/smell, I’d hate to rob them of those precious memories that are linked and reinforced by smells.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Dying is bad. Long covid is bad. But “mild” cases… they’re not nothing either. If masking can prevent two weeks of pretty terrible illness that seems like a pretty reasonable tradeoff even ignoring the spillover effects on death/long covid/etc. At least for kids who can’t get vaccines yet.

  13. SP Says:

    California still has masks mandated for schools, and of course there are some lawsuits and such saying they can’t do this. I’m not sure where it is now, but I am highly confident our local public schools will mandate them. There certainly won’t be state laws saying that schools CAN’T mandate.

    My kid has been in daycare (with 6 kids, masked adults) since July, and since they are all about age 2, masking and true distancing really hasn’t been done between the kids. I was OK with this, but in the next (bigger, older) class and with delta, support consistant masking. Like you, I think it is worth doing, even if direct risks are small. But I also am feeling pretty defeated and think that even with masks… exposure is relatively likely. Its disheartening.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Fortunately(?) the daycare teachers that got Covid at the university run daycare got it while masking and social distancing and drop-off/pick-up were still in place and then they had a quarantine for each affected class after. My colleagues tell me that since the state law change everything is business as usual as if there weren’t a pandemic at all. So far no major outbreaks. Hopefully any new teacher hires this fall will have been vaccinated…but they can’t mandate it or masking.

  14. Natka Says:

    Yes, I am very worried about schools… We kept our 3 kids home last year, doing the all-virtual school thing that our school district offered. Our schools opened first in hybrid mode and then full time, but we just kind of continued for virtual school because it was working out well enough.

    As of now, our schools have no mask mandates. This may or may not change. Only our oldest child is vaccinated. We still have an option of virtual school, but it will no longer be through our school district. Instead, they are using some sort of contractor (Edmentum). For multiple reasons, I think our kids will be better off (academically and emotionally) back attending in-person school. They miss their friends and teachers. Also, my husband and I both work full-time and having kids always at home is … well… not an optimal work environment.
    But yes, I worry about covid, long covid, side effects of covid, new strains of covid.

    I will email our school administration. I will feel somewhat safer about sending kids to school if everyone is required to wear masks. If there is no mask requirement – I will still send kids to school (risk/benefits and all that stuff) but will tell them that THEY MUST WEAR MASKS. Perhaps I’ll have them double-mask… I know a few other parents who feel the same – they will send the kids to school but will insist that they wear masks even if some students or teachers do not.

    Jenny F. Scientist – thank you for the links.

    Does anyone know of any studies on the effectiveness of masks, particularly in the light of delta variant? My sense is that it reduces the risk of transmission (maybe depending on the mask type and how well it fits around the face) but it is not a 100% thing. Also, my youngest child sucks her thumb… We are working on it, but there is only so much the masks can do… And kids just tend to touch everything and then stick their fingers in their eyes… and their hand washing often amounts to wetting the tips of their fingers. Ack.

    You know – watching the Olympics has been great because everyone there is wearing masks! It makes it feel much more normal – like hey, if all those awesome athletes are doing it, so can we!

  15. Alice Says:

    We’re in a state where 69% of those eligible have received 1 dose, and in a county in which about 80% of those eligible have received at least 1 dose. If you factor in the ineligible, those percentages drop to 60% and 56%, respectively.

    Our state stopped requiring masks in ages 2-11 when there was approval for the over 12 group. My kid’s private pre-K immediately switched to kid masking being “up to individual parents.” I was bringing her in a mask despite my misgivings– no other kids were wearing masks and I saw only a handful of adults with masks. Local case counts were low enough and eligible vaccination rates high enough that I thought it would be okay, plus I hadn’t worked in 6 months. We withdrew her this past weekend. Her room is on its 2nd quarantine in a month and I’m not up for another round.

    Masking is important to support. Based on this whole experience, it may be the tip of the iceberg. I found out from another parent whose baby was diagnosed positive that the school had essentially returned to its pre-pandemic illness policies. This is not something they’re communicating to people whose kids who are well unless they’re specifically asked about it. They are allowing people to bring coughing kids to school provided that the kid hadn’t had a fever within the past 24 hours. The school is not requiring a negative covid19 test or even for the symptoms to fully subside. IF a sick person is tested and IF that test is positive, then the sick person and anyone who was in the classroom at the same time as that person on their last day is in quarantine. For the two quarantines, the notification generally comes about 3-4 days after the person’s last attendance day. But if people opt not to test? No quarantine. No need to even be well before they’re back in the room.

    Which is why we withdrew our kid.

    My kid’s upcoming elementary school has already said that they’re requiring universal masking on campus, but they also aren’t offering a virtual option. They’ve also said that they expect to change as the situation changes. Based on the last 2 months with pre-k… masks are at least something. But I am worried about quarantines happening throughout the fall and winter despite masking. And I don’t have a clear sense of what their illness policy will be.

    I’m tired.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Wow. And yeah, understandable that you’re tired.

      It is good that vaccination rates are high among those who can be vaccinated. And that the elementary is requiring masking.

      I read an article saying RSV is unusually bad right now in kids. (Respiratory virus.)

    • Lisa Says:

      There was a quote in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education ( that resonated with me: “Most countries have safety nets; the United States has women.” Last year I did all the things (sanitized the house, sewed handmade masks, prepared to homeschool the kids, “worked” from home, etc.) because I felt there was no choice. This year, I’m much more resentful at being in the exact same position. We can’t put our careers on the back burner for years on end to individually manage a public health crisis because the people who should be forming strong, data-driven policy prefer to ignore it.

  16. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    We’re almost back into purple… from orange to deep deep red in the course of a week (including the 7 day average definition).

    And less than 20% of children age 12-15 are vaccinated. Everyone at DC2’s middle school should be under age 12, but that’s really bad for the next grades up. And Delta cases are rising rapidly. (Not surprising if Delta spreads as quickly as chickenpox, which I very much remember getting from daycare.)

  17. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    We have now confirmed that they’re doing a universal masking policy but I don’t know how they’re going to enforce (or IF??) I did take your post to heart and emailed the administration asking them if and how they’ll enforce but also affirming our support for a masking mandate. They appear to be avoiding offering online instruction so I think we’re out of luck unless we’re ready to homeschool. We’re a mere two weeks out and we still have no useful information. Sigh.

    Our city supposedly has high vax rates but our county is apparently in deep purple again? I don’t even know what’s going on.

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