This is an atypical post about hopefully initiating a grassroots effort to once again breathe naturally and freely, revisit humane policies, re-institute sanity, and re-establish basic civil rights on Lee County, FL public school campuses; it is an appeal effort that, frankly, “radiates” to wider societal interaction and freedom in general. In so doing, this post also effectively revisits expanded governmental and bureaucratic tyranny, scientific facts be damned, as regards the “trumped-up” Corona virus (COVID-19) threat. Specifically, it relates to my daughter’s difficulties (she is not alone) thanks to the local “masking-up” diktat for seven hours a day, five days per week since the beginning of the current school year in late August here in Lee County, Florida. In particular, every day she rides the school bus to Estero High School, is on campus, and rides the school bus to return home is mandatory “masked-up” time.
In a nutshell, facts and true health risks are being callously pushed aside by political and CYA calculations, yet daily school bus and school campus masking decrees from Monday to Friday are being shamelessly peddled as protecting the lives of our public school children. For those parents and students sharing our family doctor’s, daughter Sarah’s, my close friends’, and my own pronounced unmasking convictions, I hope that this post will inspire you to join us in a grassroots effort to liberate students to breathe free and to communicate fully and naturally, with vital facial expressions and identities again being on complete display. I state this despite the pronounced round one defeat on December 4th, 2020. If enough of us “chime in” here with science on our side, we may ultimately prevail — hopefully in time to prevent irreversible developmental, emotional, mental, and physical damage.
The appeal and its aftermath:
My unmasking appeal to the Lee County School District “504 Committee” on December 4th was as follows:
Given (more details and source links in “deeper dive” section):
- That 99.997% of all young people, or essentially 100%, as in public school students, recover from the Corona virus, should they contract it
- That young people are poor spreaders of the Corona virus
- That according to a plethora of scientific studies, masks are broadly known to lack efficacy in terms of preventing the spread of the Corona virus. Recent scientific studies in Switzerland and Denmark, which I have shared with Mrs. H in email format, confirm just that
- That sustained masking-up for protracted periods is known to pose serious and potentially lasting physical, mental, and emotional risks, including higher youth suicide rates
- That my daughter’s novel issues (headaches, pronounced drowsiness, substantially reduced mental acuity, being sick much more often) began after she was forced to wear a mask, as shared in Dr. A’s unmasking request letter — please note that Sarah had a nearly perfect attendance record at Estero High until this year, and was well-integrated into campus life, enjoyed her classes and teachers, and achieved a great GPA
- Dr. A’s medical mask exemption notice and its clear call-out of far greater long-term health risks to Sarah if she continues to wear a mask such as oxygen deprivation (hypoxia), pulmonary disease (hypercapnia), and cells’ reduced ability to take up oxygen (histotoxic hypoxic injury)
- Sarah’s right to peaceably assemble in public places based on the FL Constitution (Article 1, Declaration of Rights, Section 5)
- Sarah’s right to peaceably assemble in public place based on the US Constitution (1st amendment)
- Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order #20-244, suspension of COVID-19-related fines and penalties – the order, consistent with EO 20-92, suspends the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals …,
… I petition you, as Sarah’s papa, to allow Sarah to come to Estero High School, be a student at Estero High School, and return from Estero High School to her home without a mask.
Thank you very much for taking the time to allow me to make my unmasking case on behalf of Sarah as guided and underpinned by our family doctor’s (“Dr. A’s”) medical advice.
The 504 Committee’s decision concerning my unmasking appeal for my daughter after an hour-long discussion, as communicated verbally and via an email file attachment:
Not eligible — the student was evaluated and is not eligible under Section 504. There is no educational impairment.
My email response to the 504 Committee’s decision:
Hi Mrs. H (head of 504 Committee),
Thanks for reaching out. Although it was good to hear your friendly voice and see your kind face, I honestly think we were “railroaded,” including on the “voting front” (frankly, had I known the “attendee dynamics” here, I would have tried to get a handful of friends onboard). I say this despite the pleasant, respectful, and civil demeanor of the call’s discourse extending to all participants, and despite the time and effort you invested in making it happen, for which I remain grateful, as I’m sure my close and dear friend Doug does as well.
Separately, allow me to make some observations. In so doing, my intention isn’t to be brash or disrespectful, but simply to be honest, given what I believe to be at stake. Specifically, in my opinion, you and your colleagues, as employees of the Lee County School system, are essentially being forced to uphold a school bus and on-campus masking policy for kids:
- That have next to zero downside health risks from the COVID-19 virus or the Corona virus
- That are very poor/very unlikely transmitters of the virus to others – much less likely transmitters, for example, than the likelihood of them transmitting a “run of the mill” flu
- Who have to wear masks that display no statistically significant reduced transmission of virus efficacy (as food for thought, just dwell on the widespread societal masking-up for the past eight months juxtaposed against stubbornly high new virus cases, i.e., assuming the test results provide accurate readings — there is ever more evidence of “false positives,” which only add insult to already copiously disruptive relationship, family, societal, and economic injury caused by the draconian virus policy response forced upon the masses).
- That have no choice but to be masked-up “lab rats” virtually all-school-day long thanks to a masking decree that is detrimental, or substantially worse than detrimental, either emotionally, mentally, or overall health-wise, especially after months of forced compliance – in short, kids who are subjected to “all that” yet for whom the Corona virus poses an extremely remote, virtual non-existent threat, which also applies to the people they come in contact with (as amply discussed and documented numerous times – please see attached for ease of reference, and also click here and here should there be additional non-mask efficacy verification interest).
In a related manner, please forgive me for wondering how your collective consciences can “whitewash” what you are supporting or promoting. Hopefully the day won’t come, when you and your colleagues will seriously regret having stood for such a policy. I hope this for you, but much, much more than that, I hope it for Sarah and all the other masked-up kids suffering under this inhumane, dehumanizing, depressing, ineffective, counterproductive, absolutely unnecessary (!!!), and (in my view) despotic masking-up diktat on school buses and all day at Lee County campuses (save for “oxygen breaks”).
Given what is at stake here and given the novel, mask-related challenges that Sarah has been facing and dealing with, like a good soldier, since the beginning of this school year, I will sustain the on-campus-related unmasking effort on Sarah’s behalf based on the means at my disposal (thanks for the contact addresses and appeal “avenues”) even as I remain dumbfounded not only by your policy, but by your committee’s absolute refusal to consider and implement — or to promote implementation of — Dr. A’s “medical exemption” and his associated on-campus unmasking request. The impairment Sarah (and I’m certain, many other students) is facing IS the mask, Mrs. H, and it is an impairment as easy to remove as a face mask (literally), for the “global” good and well-being of everyone involved on campus and on public school buses.
In a disappointed yet sincere manner,
A deeper dive:
I’ve been engaged in what has become a marathon effort to garner an unmasked status at Estero High School for my daughter Sarah. The effort commenced in the summer of 2020, i.e., since we learned that Lee County public schools would reopen, yet mandate masking-up for everyone on campus as per the start of the new school year. By late September, and because Sarah continued to have novel and material issues (drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, reduced cognitive ability, and facial rashes) associated with the masking-up decree, I reached out to our long-standing family doctor (“Doctor A,” an MD), whose name will not be disclosed here for reasons of discretion. I did so in the hope of achieving relief for my daughter. Doctor A was all too familiar with the masking-up symptoms that Sarah was increasingly challenged by, and he issued a medical exemption from any regulation mandating face mask usage for Sarah. The medical exemption notice, as well as an accompanying unmasking request he signed, were shared with the appropriate administrators at Estero High School in early October, who then shared them more broadly within the Lee County School District.
Dr. A’s medical exemption notice dated October 5th, 2020:
The accompanying unmasking request that was signed by Dr. A on October 5th, 2020:
From: Dr. A
On behalf of: Sarah O. Kurz, senior student at Estero High
To: Estero High School decision maker(s) in Lee County Public School System
Regards: Unmasking request for Sarah Kurz as an on-campus student at Estero High
To whom it may concern,
It has been drawn to my attention that Sarah has had difficulties since the beginning of the new school year, a year which commenced with mandated, virtually full-time wearing of masks by all the inhabitants of Lee County Public School campuses. Specifically, Sarah:
- Has come home nearly every day with a considerable headache, in clear contrast to prior years, when this was the exception, not the norm.
- Was sick three days recently (which prompted her dad to seek an appointment with me on her behalf, which took place on October 1, 2020). This stands in stark contrast to not having missed more than a day or two of school since her freshman year at Estero High.
- Has endured pronounced drowsiness and reduced mental acuity during and after school since the start of the new school year. In fact, Sarah has had to fight falling asleep at school, a new experience.
Separately, please note mask-wearing risks for kids are quite significant:
- Inhaling the slow build of CO2 can cause headaches, dizziness, and impaired cognition
- Inhaling micro-mold caused by trapped water vapor from exhalation can cause throat and respiratory infection
- Sustained, mask-based oxygen deprivation can lead to brain damage
- Ingestion of bacteria or parasites on the mask from kids’ unwashed hands touching it can lead to pin worms or digestive illness.
For the record, let me state the following, which a recent CDC publication will affirm: The death rate — also called the infection fatality ratio — of young people that contract COVID-19 (the Corona virus) is virtually zero.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis referenced the same CDC data when he issued his Executive Order #20-244. However, the governor listed it in converse infection survival rate terms instead of in infection fatality rate terms. The COVID-19 infection survival rates are nearly 100% for every age group from the 0 – 19 year-old to the 50-69 year-old cohorts:
Moreover, young people are poor COVID-19 transmitters: “scientific studies suggest that COVID-19 transmission among children in schools may be low. International studies that have assessed how readily COVID-19 spreads in schools also reveal low rates of transmission when community transmission is low. Based on current data, the rate of infection among younger school children, and from students to teachers, has been low, especially if proper precautions are followed. There have also been few reports of children being the primary source of COVID-19 transmission among family members. This is consistent with data from both virus and antibody testing, suggesting that children are not the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in schools or in the community.”
Low rates of COVID-19 transmission among children in school makes mask wearing redundant at best, destructive at worst. For details, please see mask-wearing risks above and, most especially, please refer to my one-page medical exemption note on this matter.
In addition, even if young people were prolific COVID-19 spreaders, which they most clearly are not, there have been a litany of studies done on the poor efficacy of masks in terms of preventing the spread of influenza. Such studies are provided at the NIH PubMed Medical Library. All studies listed in the NIH PubMed Medical Library (please see below) conclude that even N95 respirators, or medical masks, used properly in a medical venue, do not reduce the spread of an influenza in statistically significant terms. Links to such studies follow:
- Radonovich et al. 2019
- Long et al. 2020
- Liang et al. 2020
- Sokol et al. 2016
- Jacobs et al. 2009
- Cowling et al. 2010
- Bin-Reza et al. 2012
- Smith et al. 2016
- Offeddu et al. 2017
And here are links to studies proving that non-pharmaceutical cloth masks in non-health care settings do nothing for the prevention of influenza:
- Xiao et al. 2020
- Aiello et al. 2010
- Aiello et al. 2012
- Barasheed et al. 2014
- Cowling et al. 2008
- MacIntyre et al. 2009
- MacIntyre et al. 2015
- Suess et al. 2012
- Simmerman et al. 2011
Separately, Sarah, which clearly poses no material COVID-19 risk to herself or others on campus, needs to be and deserves to be on campus at Estero High to get a full and normal learning and social interaction experience. In fact, the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees her the right to peaceably assembly in public places – as does Florida’s Constitution in Article 1, Declaration of Rights, Section 5.
Sarah also needs to be on campus to complete and double-down on her culinary course work to benefit from “real life” learning and mentoring that remote or distance learning cannot even tenuously provide, but only an on-campus kitchen featuring a teacher chef can enable. This is all the more germane given that Sarah is considering a culinary career.
In summary, based on:
- The above clarifications, illuminations, facts, and figures,
- The recent Executive Order #20-244, which suspends fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 (public policy restrictions) in the State of Florida: “Section 4. Suspension of COVID-19-related Individual Fines and Penalties. This order, consistent with Executive Order 20-92, suspends the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals,”
- The negative impact of virtually full-time Estero High campus mask wearing is starting to impose on Sarah’s health, vibrancy, and mental acuity,
- Sarah’s on campus-based presence, education, and development rights,
- And, last but not least, on Sarah’s career choice trajectory, …
… I kindly request that you excuse Sarah from the Lee County School system’s virtually full-time mask wearing decree while you continue to grant Sarah on-campus schooling access at Estero High.
For more specifics on this matter, once again please see the one-page medical exemption from wearing a mask that I have granted Sarah Kurz as her primary care physician, which Sarah’s father will include with this information. Please note that I request this “on campus” mask wearing exemption for my patient without promoting or advocating a remote learning solution, which would be most unwelcome and counterproductive from a host of maturation, learning, exposure, enrichment, socialization, and emotional stability perspectives as stated elsewhere (please also see your Sarah Kurz Estero High appeal-based enrollment files).
Nearly two months after Dr. A’s exemption notice and the related on-campus unmasking request, and after nearly four months of belabored breathing into the current school year, a Zoom meeting took place to address my petition (appeal) to unmask Sarah as relates to her school busing and campus time. As already stated, the meeting was titled a “Section 504” Committee Meeting. Section 504 relates to a federal law that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities. It requires school districts to “level the playing field” by eliminating disability-related obstacles and ensuring that students with disabilities have access to the same activities and programs as their non-disabled peers. As mentioned elsewhere, the Lee County School District made the following determination: “the student was evaluated and is not eligible under Section 504. There is no educational impairment.”
Translation: the Lee County School bureaucrats conspired to make an unmasking determination not based on the novel (new) health issues Sarah has been experiencing since having to come to school masked-up, but based on whether or not she had preexisting disabilities or impairments that caused her to become nervous or anxious about having to wear a mask for virtually the entire school day (you can’t make this stuff up, it’s so beyond the pale ridiculous and outrageous)! As all Lee County School participants at the Section 504 Committee (“Committee”) Meeting agreed that Sarah had no preexisting issues, the foundation for unmasking her disappeared. During an hour-long Committee meeting conference call, my close, long-time friend Doug and I failed to impress upon the Lee County bureaucrats that it wasn’t any historical health or mental or emotional issues that should bestow upon Sarah an unmasking waiver. We failed to convince them that the culprit for her markedly increased headaches, marked drowsiness, reduced mental acuity both on and off campus, and three times the sick days so far this school year as in all her first three years at Estero High combined were related to, if not directly caused by, roughly 35 hours of “door-to-door” masking-up each and every full school week since late August.
Needless to say, and beyond pathetic and disingenuous, no one on the Committee from the Lee County side, including a nurse that was present, even acknowledged the likelihood that the mask was the culprit. In fact, the nurse on the conference call went out of her way to state that Sarah hadn’t come to the nurse station more often since masking-up began in late August, so she couldn’t confirm that Sarah was having any issues. I told her that Sarah didn’t come to the nurse station because she knew that she would have to put her mask back on, and because she was a “good soldier.” I also told the nurse that she knew as well as me that people can resist unhealthy states or environments successfully for a long time until suddenly, there is a breakdown or a serious medical issue. But this too fell on deaf Committee ears.
The bureaucrats also surely voted against an unmasked status for Sarah for another reason — or, let me say the “real” reason behind their decision. Specifically, because an unmasking decision for my daughter would be diametrically opposed to the school district administrators’ vested interest in upholding the masking-up status quo, no matter how insane, scientifically unsound, student health damaging (restricting students’ oxygen access while forcing them to inhale the CO2 they are exhaling), and despotic this decree is. If school system administrators promote campus population virus health “safety” by demanding ineffectual masking-up by everyone on campus, how can they reverse that by suddenly (de facto) admitting that their diktat is unsound at best, and destructive to students’ health and to civil rights at worst? And never mind the total bureaucratic loss of face this would bring with it, much less the collapsed credibility.
This is all the more true given the so-called Main Stream Media’s (MSM) “alignment” with both local, state, and national bureaucrats and their elected brethren, left-wing politicians. Specifically, the endless US “Pravda press fear porn” about the Corona virus has been amplified in CNN-indoctrinated school classrooms (CNN is not only entrenched in airports, but in public schools) and by other MSM outfits more generally, such as NBC, CBS, ABC, the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and the Washington Post.
Not only are highly questionable new virus infection rates hyped, but misleading stories about overwhelmed hospitals are repeated endlessly. Juxtapose this fear porn against declining national weekly Corona virus deaths: as this post is being written, national weekly virus deaths are down 83% from the April high watermark of 17,094 to 2,849 for the first week in December. Also note that on average, 7,789 Americans die each day for a whole host of reasons, yet we don’t institute toxic public policy responses as a result.
Or, contrast the local and national fear porn with sharply declining Florida-based Corona virus deaths, where weekly Corona virus deaths are down 99% from the August 1st weekly peak tally of 1,515 people to a December 5th weekly tally of 117 people, which amounted to 5% of all weekly deaths in the Sunshine State (population 22m) during the same week.
Or, consider the CDC confession earlier this fall that only 6% of all Corona virus deaths in America could be solely attributed to the virus, not to severe chronic health issues, also called comorbidities (typically, Corona virus deaths occur when people have 2.9 comorbidities), being “onboard.” Terrible diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are being referred to here. Said differently, if a person suffering from any of those, or other chronic maladies, suddenly came down with the flu and died, the cause of death wouldn’t be the flu, but the underlying disease … But, if such a person sadly perishes with the Corona virus on board, the virus gets blamed for the death (BTW, hospitals were incentivized monetarily to do so), not the comorbidities! In a related sense, let’s reflect on the fact that the Corona virus, on its own, has led to “only” around 18,000 deaths in the US, the equivalent of 2.3 days of average US daily deaths of 7,789 people. And let’s not forget that there have been extremely few student deaths related to this virus in the US, which has a population of some 331m people, of which roughly 25%, or 83m, is compromised of young people.
Most importantly and most germane — and to repeat — dwell not on “24/7” virus alarmism, but on the fact that Americans between 0 and 19 years of age — your school-age kids — have a Corona virus survival rate of 99.997%! In the interim, consider that, in Lee County, FL, not a single student death related to the virus has been reported to date. How do I know? Because such a sad occurrence would receive endless media attention, virtually to the exclusion of other sad causes of student deaths, which might appear “on page 34 of the News Press.”
Finally, if our family doctor’s mask exemption for Sarah was in fact honored by the Lee County School system, think of how many “me too” requests this would trigger on the one hand? On the other hand, consider all the fear porn-indoctrinated, sadly misguided parents that actually believe that the Corona virus constitutes a “Bubonic Plague/Black Death, revisited” risk for their school-age kids. And now imagine Sarah and/or other “me too” kids walking around unmasked on campus!
Notwithstanding the Stalinist bureaucracy and extremely pronounced Corona virus fear porn that we are up against, if enough students complain about masks’ many troubling and inhumane aspects to their parents, over time — hopefully prior to irreversible psychological, emotional, or physical health damage — a grassroots revolt against the “do as I say, not as I do” Coronacrats (politicians and bureaucrats) and their “Covidacracy” (virus-based despotism/civil rights violations) can prevail. Would you like to join us — Sarah, yours truly, and my good friends Doug and Debi, who have been so supportive and helpful — in this effort?
With the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) shockingly refusing to review pronounced and widespread state and federal constitutional violations that took place before, during, and after the November 3rd election, “masking-up, corrupt, serial liar Joe,” patriarch of the Biden Crime Family, and extremely likely to soon be president-elect and then president, will seek to double down on the ineffective yet health-harming mask tyranny under which so many suffer, including our school-age children. While federalism is close to being eviscerated, the remaining residual will surely soon come under even greater attack given Marxist Dems’ virtually certain assumption of the presidency. Fortunately, red state Florida has a freedom-loving, sane, and health-conscious governor. Hopefully DeSantis will not “go RINO” on us, as patriots push back against ever-expanding federal tyranny on the one hand, and on growing public school despotism on the other hand. I believe parent-patriots should do this for the health, sanity, joy, and well-being of their kids and for their future. They don’t deserve anything less. They deserve the same freedom and normalcy that we had when we were growing up, and there were quite a few viruses (pandemics) “raging” back then.
Hopefully Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order #20-244 (E.O.) will not wilt under sustained and growing pressure from the lock-down/mask-up leftist bureaucrats at the local, state, and national level, or as a result of “ambulance-chasing” litigation. Instead, may the E.O. establish itself much more strongly and widely, to include public schools unmasking in practice, not just in theory, throughout this great state. This is all the more urgent given what a Biden Administration would bring. May that September 25th, 2020 E.O. gain a foothold and expand from Pinellas and Hillsborough counties through all Florida counties, in the process re-instituting lost constitutional freedoms and inalienable rights for those most “broadsided” by the “COVID-19 restrictions,” very much including our public school-age kids, who are nearly always too young to vote for the very politicians, such as Governor DeSantis, that attempt to grant them relief:
Friday’s E.O. also suspends fees and penalties for individuals who violate COVID-19 restrictions, removing the enforcement mechanisms in Pinellas and Hillsborough ordinances that require masks when inside public areas. The order did not address fines incurred by businesses.
“I think we need to get away from trying to penalize people for not social distancing and work with people constructively,” DeSantis said.
Hope dies last! In the meantime, if enough of us stand tall for science and our school-age kids instead of kowtowing to those whose salaries we pay or to “masking-up virtue-signaling” or to an indoctrinated, misinformed mob (thank you, MSM), perhaps we can start a grassroots effort to help give Governor Ron DeSantis’ E.O. much needed teeth! After all, we are supposed to be the sovereigns, not our “overlords.” Once again, please join us in this effort if you too share our concerns and our convictions! Please use this post as a “starting point,” as potential food for thought. The more of us that have a go against the entrenched public school bureaucracy that we finance thanks to public schools getting nearly 50% of every property tax dollar that we pay, the more likely they are to listen to reason. A determined, vocal, and righteous minority can be effective. It can also motivate those sitting on the fence, and a movement can really catch fire. All the sudden people will be asking in disbelief what on God’s green earth we were doing to our children. I have a dream, and there is always “round two!”
Thanks a ton for your interest!
FYI: Additional information and a few links relating to discussed topics have been added to select sections of this post after the initial publication date in an effort to better buttress the stance espoused without changing the content or the nature of the matter discussed. Dr. A’s writings are exactly as he signed them. The Lee County bureaucratic assertion is precisely as it was communicated to me. Separately, select post-publishing text and link improvements have also been undertaken. Once again, neither the message nor the thrust of this article were changed.
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