Letter: COVID a battle among public school districts

Dear Editor,

The COVID-19 policy is slowly creeping to where it always should have been. President Trump correctly rejected the concept of total federal control / response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for states to respond in a manner more respectful to the desires of state residents.

We saw significantly different responses from U.S. states, and outcomes didn’t always fit the narrative of expectations. A consistent pattern however, as we saw in New York State, were anemic and ineffective state legislative bodies that ceded far too much authority to state governors and state agencies that are less accountable to the voters, especially state health departments.

As the pandemic lingered on, we then saw a shift towards more county government control, which allowed for even further customization to the desires of county residents.

Now, in August 2021, it’s a battle among public school districts. To force mask wearing or not is a key operative question now.  

When will we get to a proper approach in what is supposed to be a country built upon individual liberty and freedom?  INDIVIDUALS and families should be working out their plan. Wear a mask if you want, or don’t. Get a vaccine if you want, or don’t. A top down, tyrannical approach is rejected outright by many people who are rightfully suspicious of government “leaders” based on a long track record of corruption and deceit (as I write this, Governor Cuomo has announced his resignation, case in point).

We need county and town elected officials to show some integrity and say enough is enough. We need to champion for Tioga County school districts to be fully open, and with no excuses to shut down. Some schools are offering a remote learn parallel OPTION and that’s a good idea also if some parents in the district want to do so. If parents want their child(ren) to wear masks, let them make that choice, but don’t impose upon others.  

I’ve seen firsthand the psychological damage done to children over the hysterical response our country has had to this pandemic. Yet few people who argue for mask tyranny bring up this collateral damage problem for kids. We shouldn’t throw kids under the bus to “save grandma.” Grandma can get a vaccine.  

The risks of the COVID-19 virus to children are known to be quite small.  The long-term risks to children from the COVID-19 vaccine are still unknown.  I have 10- and 12-year-old children and we are not vaccinating them for COVID-19. It’s a tough decision, I respect parents who make either choice, and right now only ages 12 and older can be vaccinated.


Rich Purtell

Libertarian candidate for Tioga County Legislature, District 3

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