Dozens of local doctors and several health care providers signed a letter to the Lake Charles community, supporting students who wear face masks indoors once they return for the upcoming school year, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Southwest Louisiana Children’s Center posted the letter on its Facebook page on Tuesday, stating that all pediatricians in Calcasieu Parish signed it. It states that strictly following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives children “the best chance of having a successful personal school year while staying healthy.”
“We know that the mitigation measures imposed are frustrating,” the letter said. “Few are feeling the burden of this pandemic more than we are in healthcare. Continue to help our schools follow expert recommendations for the duration of this pandemic.”
The letter also encourages students ages 12 and older, along with parents, teachers and support staff, to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Because of the age restrictions on administering the vaccine, the letter also recommends “social distancing, indoor masking, and promoting vaccinations from those who qualify and come into contact with (students).”
The letter also supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that all students wear masks indoors from kindergarten onward.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the Calcasieu Parish School Board, more than 30 parents, some are health professionals, spoke out against mask mandates for students. No one spoke in favor of masking students.
Also, 19 Republican state lawmakers signed a letter Monday to Governor John Bel Edwards asking him to revoke his mask mandate for K-12 students and leave the decision on mitigation measures to local school districts. Representatives Brett Geymann, R-Moss Bluff and Phillip Tarver, R-Lake Charles were among the lawmakers who signed the letter.