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Expert Advisory Panel 4: Public Health, Safety and Logistics - Shared screen with speaker view
Susan Wolf Ditkoff (she)
As always, if any PSB staff are Attendees and want to participate by video or audio, please let me know and I would be very happy to move you over. Thanks for being here!
Rachel Agrin-Silva
Primary care pediatrician perspective: Same. From my large pediatric practice, no child with serious illness. Large and ongoing spike in mental health crisis.
Cindy Elias de Koster
Hello Rachel Agrin-Silva…Have you observed/heard/read anything about the relationship between positive covid infection and mental health due to the impact the virus has on the brain? My daughter, a 4th year psych resident, says there are indications there is a relationship in the hospital setting. Thanks!
Nathan Shpritz
I guess I could ask one other question here. If the vaccinated numbers are a floor of "immune" individuals, what is the estimate if one adds students who have gained some immunity by prior infection. Just to compare to a rough 1-1/R0
Rachel Agrin-Silva
Cindy - I have read about it in adults. Rare, but it has been reported.
Cindy Elias de Koster
Thanks, Rachel.
Susan Wolf Ditkoff (she)
To answer a question - the Superintendent cannot override the Brookline Public Health Commissioner to make things less strict, as far as I understand. The Brookline public health rules currently apply to the PSB.
Susan Wolf Ditkoff (she)
Amanda - do we have data on children who experience identified special needs about reading emotional cues? Not toddlers.
Lotte Leick Jorgensen
Please consider if the reason that there is no empirical evidence regarding adverse effects could be that very few long-term studies have been performed regarding these issues, especially in children?
Lotte Leick Jorgensen
What about data on parameters such as headache and facial rashes?
Serena Rajabiun
Thank you so much Amanda--great update.
Cindy Elias de Koster
Thanks, Amanda!
Rachel Agrin-Silva
Commenting as a pediatrician (and Pierce parent) - I’m grateful for the experts in Brookline who are taking the time to think through parameters for masks coming off/ on. It’s inevitable the mask mandate will eventually end in Brookline schools - Our community is not a significant outlier in terms of COVID risk. With this, it will be important to support those students and staff who will continue to mask, due to high risk family members, individuals, or any personal choices. It would be helpful if KN94/KN95 masks were made available, free of charge, to those who could not otherwise access them. (It’s likely Brookline families would donate these if there are not funds through the district).
Rachel Agrin-Silva
Also, I have seen a new joy in my patients this week - from K to high school - who tell me about not having to wear masks in their suburban schools. There is a critical but immeasurable lifting of the psychological burden, when these children and teens shed their masks. This is incredibly important to consider, given the currently low community prevalence of COVID, and the vaccines and treatments that are now available.
Elizabeth Solinga
Given we are 4+ months out from the vaccine being authorized for 5-11 and the recent studies re. significant waning of effectiveness against infection, is vaccination status of kids in this range an impactful data point anymore? Are they essentially minimally protected?
Elizabeth Solinga
apologies if I missed this earlier in the call!
Maxim Sheinin
Given that the vast majority of the adults in our children's life are not going to wear masks now given removal of mask mandates, whether at work, in gyms, at restaurants, places of worship, friendly gatherings, is it ethical to require children to continue to wear masks? Throughout this pandemic children have consistently had the least risk of severe illness (indeed comparable to other respiratory illnesses), but also the least say in their circumstances and consequently the greatest restrictions put on them. I'd encourage the commission to consider the question of fairness
Lotte Leick Jorgensen
I can go spinning next week with older adults without a mask. I do not feel that fair to our kids. At this point, with the updated CDC guidelines I respectfully think the discussion is more about values than an exact number..
Sangeeta Shankar
Thanks so much Natalia! That seems like a sensible approach.
Maxim Sheinin
We live in a world with respiratory disease - RSV and flu. At this point in the pandemic the risks for these other respiratory diseases is comparable to COVID. And the risk to children from COVID has always been small and continues to get smaller. If we don't move to mask-optional now, then when? Are we planning to keep small children in schools in masks forever? Because that is what this feels like.
Sarita Chung
We need to support our school staff who would like to continue to mask.
Maxim Sheinin
Thank you Nira, very helpful clarification
Stephanie Freeman
I just want to underscore the request to articulate that Silent Lunch can go away, in your recommendations. It’s been briefly touched on but want to ensure schools get this clear message. Silent lunch at my daughter’s school is a solid 30 mins of TV and another 15 mins at snack. Every day. This has become one of the saddest, most disappointing parts of the school year for our family and many others at our school. We intend to circle back with principal next week to demand NO MORE daily entertainment TV at school, and want to make sure they have received the message that Silent Lunch is a thing of the past, because that’s the rationale for the screens. We need to do better.
Lotte Leick Jorgensen
I really support go masks optional as soon as possible in order to respect children that every day struggle with them. This is also in accordance with the updated CDC guidelines. Please note that most likely there are also adverse effects of masking..
Andrew K
I agree with Lottie. 253 schools plus in this state are already mask optional
Nira Pollock
From earlier discussion, “as soon as possible” requires the approval of Brookline DH to eliminate mask mandate in indoor settings
Benjamin Linas
Totally agree.
One more point… I tried to find specific data — I am not as well versed as you all are — however, the MA death rate from COVID-19 last week was 24 and (from what I can find) deaths from flu was 5-ish (don’t quote me… I couldn’t readily find accurate data right now), so the death rate is (something like) 5 times that from other respiratory diseases. I would feel much more comfortable without a mask if the rates were comparable.
Cindy Elias de Koster
Agree, David Petty. I, too, live with someone with a chronic and serious health condition and cannot bring Covid home.
Serena Rajabiun
Have it outside!
Serena Rajabiun
AGree well said Lakshman
Thank you for hearing me out. Thank you for all your work. I am heading home. Have a great weekend.
Lotte Leick Jorgensen
Thank you for the opportunity to follow this meeting.
Andrew K
Thank you