Readers comments 9-3-21
Dear editor and the Claremont Community:
On behalf of the Claremont Kiwanis Club, I want to thank the folks who purchased concessions during the summer concert series on Monday nights! Money raised in concessions goes directly to supporting the bands, week after week.
Since our normal fundraising avenues couldn’t happen during the pandemic, I decided to get creative on Monday nights. I hope those who attended the summer concerts enjoyed seeing me act a bit goofy while collecting tips from the audience, what I like to call “fun raising.” Those tips help fund some of the great kid-centric projects that the Kiwanis Club supports in our community.
This past Monday night (the final concert), we broke a ‘tips record’ after Hai Muradian, lead vocals for The Ravelers, pointed out the ‘fun raising’ tips being collected in support of the Claremont Kiwanis Club projects. On Monday August 30 alone, $727 in tips were collected! People gave anywhere from 50 cents to $100. After the past year we’ve had, it was fun to be together, and to be reminded of why we all love our Claremont community!
Sincerely, Bob Fagg
Claremont Kiwanis Club
An Illinois judge bars a divorced mother from seeing her son because she is not vaccinated. The federal government prohibits travelers without masks from using public transport. Some states require unvaccinated visitors to undergo quarantine. An angry man shoots an umasked shopper three times because he was not wearing a mask indoors. California schools require children to wear masks in classrooms in order to learn. The Chinese government prohibits minors from playing video games for more than three hours a week. Delta charges unvaccinated employees $200 a month. New York City requires proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant. Companies are firing unvaccinated employees.
Which one of those restrictions is fundamentally different from the others? None of them. They all infringe on our personal liberties in the name of making things better for all of us. When government begins to restrict personal liberties and personal choice, as ours and many countries’ governments increasingly are doing, government takes the first step on a slippery slope to despotism. I fear we have slipped dangerously far already, with only flimsy justifications.
COVID-19 Vaccines are ubiquitous and free. If they are so good and so important, why should those who are vaccinated worry about the vaccine choices others make? Moreover, COVID-19 is a disease that 99.95% of the people who contract it survive. Vaccinations do carry risks for some people, and those risks—especially for younger people—could be more serious than the risk of contracting COVID-19.
I’m appalled that so many schools, including Claremont’s, are requiring children to wear masks. The case for masks is weak to begin with: the ones most people wear are ineffective at stopping a virus from spreading; masks are inhuman and dehumanizing; and masks can lead to grave and lasting developmental, educational, and psychological problems for our children. Does the meager protection afforded by wearing a mask outweigh yet another student suicide or years of lost learning? Only 335 of the 74 million children 17 and under in the U.S. have died of COVID-19. The risk of a fully vaccinated person dying of COVID-19 are only 1 in 138,000. The burdens we are inflicting on our children are orders of magnitude greater than the risk they and their teachers are exposed to.
There are some important principles to keep in mind when our health, liberty, and happiness are concerned: 1) where there is risk, there must be choice, and 2) there are no solutions, only tradeoffs. The choice between masks and no masks is not black and white, and neither is the decision to vaccinate. Do you want the government or some bureaucrat making decisions for you that may adversely impact you or your children’s health? I certainly don’t.
We need to end these senseless mask and vaccine mandates before it is too late. Government has already assumed far greater powers over our daily lives than most of us realize. If we continue down this path, our government might soon be adopting China’s infamous social credit system, and by that time it will be too late to salvage our liberties.
Editor’s note: Figures on death rates for children vary because the age range changes from state to state. Also, the most up to date figures only include 11 states.
A stronger vaccine mandate for Claremont USD
Dear Board Members Nemer, Llanusa, Fass, Archer, Osgood:
I would like to voice my support for a stronger vaccine mandate for Claremont USD’s teachers and staff than that which the state requires.
The fall re-opening of schools will look very different from the reopening of schools last spring. The number of cases was falling last spring, but currently, cases and deaths are rising due to an emerging Delta variant that is considerably more contagious than earlier strains. L.A. County is presently in the high-risk transmission range—we are currently in what would have been the purple tier before the state did away with their colored tier designations.
Additionally, classes, this fall, will be returning to normal or near-normal size, which means physical distancing cannot be enforced. And, the majority of our students will be back in their classroom for a much longer time—5 days a week, 6 hours a day—than the limited hours in the spring.
As appreciative as I am of the state’s recent announcement of a ‘vax or test’ mandate by Oct. 15th, it does not go far enough. Unfortunately, the state’s new policy leaves a big loophole by allowing school employees to choose testing over vaccination.
Testing should only be an option in the rarest of instances, that is, when an employee has either a medical or religious reason not to receive a vaccine. (To be clear, such exemptions are rare—there are actually more medical reasons to receive a vaccine than not—and there are very few religions that have come out against vaccinations.)
While testing is a necessary and useful tool, it should not be used in lieu of a vaccination. Testing is reactive—a person only tests positive after they have contracted COVID and after they have conceivably affected others. By contrast, vaccines are preventative. Testing is also very expensive.
Robust testing programs are effective, but mostly in conjunction with vaccines.
No child should be assigned an unvaccinated teacher or staff member. Of particular concern are our students under 12 who are vaccine ineligible. CUSD should take the lead set by the school districts of L.A., Santa Barbara, Santa Monica/Malibu, Culver City USD, NYC schools, as well as the state of Oregon and Washington, and require vaccines for all school personnel with no testing option.
Pamela Casey Nagler
Editor’s note: CUSD and its unions require all district teachers and staff to be vaccinated or tested weekly by September 1, the first day of classes.