July 31, 2021
James B. Garrett
DCRP Chairman
Open Letter to the Nashville School Board Regarding the Petition to Reinstate Forced
Masking for K-12 in Public Schools
Dear Members of the School Board,
Recently, a petition has been presented to the School Board in support of reinstating
the mask mandate for K-12 students this fall. The Biden Administration has released
their own advisory report recommending that all school children K-12 be masked while
in school. Current policy does not require masks, and an MNPS spokesperson has
maintained that masks will not be required unless ordered by the mayor’s oce.
The Davidson County Republican Party objects to the forced masking of K-12 students
and urges that MNPS maintain its current mask-optional policy. Here is why:
1. The Ecacy of Masks is Questionable
Despite what is generally reported, there is no scientic consensus on the ecacy of
masks. In fact, Stephen Petty, one of the top experts on PPE and aerosolized
contaminants in the country, states that cloth masks are all but useless in the
prevention of disease. Moreover, aerosolized Covid particles are tiny, 0.1 to 0.5
microns, smaller than the diameter of a human hair by orders of magnitude.
The evidence discussed in a November 2020NIH research concludes that data“suggest
that both medical and non-medical face masks are ineective to block human-to-human
transmission of viral and infectious disease such as SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19,
supporting against the usage of face masks,and that masks cause“substantial adverse
physiological and psychological eects.
Regardless of the lack of consensus, there is a reason N95 masks and respirators are
tted and used in specic settings like hospitals. The correct tting and use of masks is
all but impossible for adults, let alone children. Teachers of young children can attest
Davidson County Republican Party
to the oftentimes constant touching and readjusting of masks that leave gaps in the t
and bring unwanted pathogens and bacteria to the face.
2. Masks Cause Discomfort and Lower Blood Oxygen Levels
On its face, this may not sound like a reason to endanger others with the spread of a
virus, but we must balance this concern with the potential impactful discomfort and
health eects that prolonged mask wearing may cause for some—particularly under
exertion. Let it be noted that White House Mask Advisory leaves no recourse for
students with respiratory complications. This is a high price that we are asking children
to pay for the rest of society.
3. Masking Hinders Speech Development
Babies and young children acquire their native language not just by listening to speech,
but through looking at the mouths of their parents, caregivers, and teachers. Masking
slows the acquisition and development of speech.
4. Masking Inhibits Human Connectivity
The Covid era has seen a marked rise in loneliness, depression, and mental health
issues including suicide. Human beings need social interaction for basic mental and
emotional health. While holding school in person is far superior to being quarantined
in front of a screen, but the hiding of the face behind a mask also inhibits person-to-
person emotional connection. Children who are in masked environments often cannot
see or process much of the feeling and meaning communicated by facial expressions.
Young children may also struggle to recognize others. Are we willing to make our
children pay this price?
5. Children Are Not At Risk For Covid
Covid is not a serious threat to children nor have schools been found to be at the root of
super spreader events. “What we haven’t seen are super spreader events” that ignited
in schools, says Sallie Permar, MD, PhD, aprofessor of pediatrics and immunology at
Duke.“The fear that you’d have one infected kid come to school, and then you’d have
many other kids and teachers and relatives [at home] get infected — that hasn’t
It is human nature to protect the young and the weak from whatever danger may
threaten them. However, during this pandemic, we adults may nd that in seeking to
protect ourselves, we do so at the expense of our children.
While the risks of Covid transmission are real, please consider the needs of children,
especially kindergarteners and elementary students, whose lives may be negatively
impacted by being forced to wear a mask themselves and by not being allowed to see
the faces of teachers and friends.
Consider also the reality that most young students are not capable of wearing a mask
properly, regardless of how often they are reminded. Most children will naturally touch
their masks throughout the day, rendering them completely useless.In addition, not all
parents support masking for their children. The issue has become so politically charged
that many of those parents are afraid to voice their dissent. The growing censorship
and restriction of speech has made speaking up even more dicult for many.
Based on the above-mentioned documentation of known facts, the Davidson County
Republican Party agrees with MNPS that mask-wearing should be optional in schools.
Children who are symptomatic should stay home and quarantine for as long as
recommended, just as has been the practice for decades for transmissible illnesses
prior to the pandemic. Families with highly at-risk members should have the option of
remote schooling. Healthy children should be allowed to go to schools and daycares
and see the faces of their teachers and classmates.
In conclusion, we urge the you, the members of the Metro School Board, to proceed
with caution in regard to this latest push for a mask mandate.
Sincerely yours,
James B. Garrett