Editor’s Note: For more information about the change in the Southern Lehigh School District’s mask policy, click here. The next Southern Lehigh School Board meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. See the agenda here.
On Jan. 10, the Southern Lehigh School District Board of Directors blatantly disregarded the recommendations of virtually every medical and public health organization, including Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network, as well as the comments they heard from students, teachers and doctors, all of whom asked to keep a mask mandate in place in order to keep our kids and teachers in school.
Although board members Dr. Sareen, Mrs. Gangewere and Mrs. Gehman tried to convince their fellow board members to listen to the experts, Mrs. King, Mr. Lycett, Mr. Maund, Mrs. Reinartz and Dr. Wayock pushed a “compromise” vote that ended the mask mandate on Jan. 21. It seems as though these board members felt that their personal aversion to masks was more important than the health and safety of the community they represent, and more important than making sure that kids and teachers stay in school. Instead, they are making an already difficult year–one many teachers are calling the toughest of their careers–even more difficult.
Teachers are already covering for colleagues because there aren’t enough subs. They’re trying to help kids at home stay caught up. They’re sick themselves, or home with kids who are COVID positive or close contacts. Kids are stressed, too, and it’s not from wearing a mask. They have no idea what to expect from day to day.
A recent survey indicated that nearly half of all teachers have considered quitting in the past month.(1) We’ve lost so many great teachers and administrators to other local districts, and if this board continues to put their own personal preferences above the expertise of teachers and doctors, I fear we will lose many more.
Kristen Bruck, M.Ed. and parent of two children in the district
Upper Saucon Township