Top Three Takeaways – August 10th, 2021
- To mask or not to mask. That is the question for parents of school aged children as they ready to send their children back to school amid peak pandemic conditions in Florida. First up in South Florida, Palm Beach County’s schools today. Parents who don’t want their children forced to wear masks all day are to have issued written notice for their children which they are to provide to their first period teacher. But as school districts continue to weigh what mask policies will be, here’s an even more important question. Do facts matter? In today’s Q&A I point out 13 studies on the impact of masks and education which are currently published on the website of the National Institute's of Health – the land of team Fauch. And what do those studies show? Masks lead to many students feeling embarrassed, having headaches, having issues speaking, result in mood changes and breathing complications, inhibits the ability to connect with teachers/other students as effectively, leads to more errors...and a partridge in a pear tree. But nothing to see there, right? Well, not if you listen to most school boards, most superintendents, much of the healthcare establishment. It’s endlessly fascinating to me how institutions which are supposed to be the backbone of education in our society are commonly engaged in keeping parents and students alike in the dark. That’s because...
- The science is clear that some masks can help stop the spreading of COVID-19. The science is also clear that all of those other issues I just cited can happen when students wear them in the classroom. There remain two sides to stories and one side to facts. Parents should have all of them to make a fully informed decision and school districts should weigh all of them before imposing policy. Unfortunately, aside from what the Florida Board of Education discussed on Friday in crafting the new rules, it’s not happening. I’ve not heard any of the 13 studies recognized by the National Institute's of Health introduced or discussed at any school district board meetings when mask policy is debated. So often the “follow the science” crowd chooses to only follow the science that fits a narrative or a desired policy outcome. If all of the science were followed, the concept of mask mandates in schools would be abandoned. In fact, it could even be debated that the potential negative health and educational outcomes for kids being forced to wear masks at school all day may be worse than contracting COVID-19 at their age. The science and facts are clear. They all just need to be considered.
- Going with the natural flow. Years in the making...the culmination of meaningful progress with the Everglades Restoration Project and years of hard work combating special interests who wanted to keep the status quo with Lake Okeechobee discharges in place...Monday marked a huge win for Florida’s waterways and everything that lives in them. The Army Corps of Engineers officially adopted plan “CC” as the basis for the future Lake O’ operating manual which will go in force effective with the completion of the Lake O’ Dike restoration next year. Plan “CC” sends the most water south into the Everglades – the natural flow from Lake O’ and reduces eastern discharges by upwards of 66%. In a year already marked by a record loss of starving manatees due to the death of seagrass due to years of discharges – this is something to feel good about and it’s an inflection point to turn the corner on over 100 years of previously bad decisions in the managing of the Everglades and Florida’s waterways.