Universal masking is one of the most important tools we have to keep our children safe and keep our schools open. But not every school district is planning to implement a policy that requires everyone to wear masks. As families, we must come together to advocate for everyone to wear masks in schools.
Here are 6 things you can do to make a difference and help keep kids safe at school.
- Model your own family’s mask-wearing habits.
Leading by example can help other families see that sending their children to school wearing masks is accepted, effective, and common. On top of keeping your child safe, it is also a way to show that you practice the same behavior you’re asking for from others, making you a credible advocate.
- Post to social media with the hashtag #MasksInSchools or #KeepKidsSafe
Post a picture of your child wearing a mask to Facebook or Instagram, with a message to encourage #UniversalMasks at school. Your post can raise awareness and encourage other parents to post too. If they have social media accounts, tag your school and school district in your photo. You can also tag @ParentsTogetherOrg on Facebook or @ParentsTogether on Instagram to show our collective community’s support.
- Talk to other parents in your child’s school.
Respectfully talk to other parents, and ask them to join you in calling for universal masks. Start with other parents who are sending their kids to school in masks. If a parent does not support masking, don’t argue with them. It’s ok to share your concerns about keeping all kids safe, but you’ll be more effective finding other parents who want to work with you, so you have a collective impact together.
- Talk to your school principal or school leader.
Your school leader can be a helpful ally in implementing or enforcing mask-wearing for everyone. Ask to set up a meeting with them to express your concerns and understand what they are doing to help protect students from COVID-19.
You can organize the meeting so other concerned parents can join with you as well. If you’re not sure what to say or what to ask, check out these suggested questions to ask your school from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to asking questions, be sure to let them know that your goal is to help keep your child – and all children – safe from COVID-19; it’s essential for the school to follow public health guidance and enforce universal masking for that to happen.
- Contact your school board.
Most policies requiring masks for public schools are made at the district level. Asking the school board to implement universal masking can make a big difference. Your story and your voice are best, but here is a sample parent letter to help get your thoughts started. If it’s helpful, you can also view a sample universal masking policy, like this one from Denver Public Schools in Colorado.
- Look up your public school board’s contact information here
- Write a letter or call the school board directly
- Show up to the next school board meeting for the public comment period
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
Letters in your local newspaper will be seen by other parents, school leaders, and community leaders and help make sure your voice is heard by many. Think about writing your newspaper letter with the same kind of language you’re using for your school board letter, and with the goal of sharing your story and rallying your community behind you.
A lot of parents are feeling overwhelmed right now, but there ARE things you can do to make sure your kid’s school is instituting practices to keep children safe, especially around mask-wearing. We’re here to answer your questions or help you figure out your next step. Just email us at [email protected].