October 26, 2020
Honorable Mayor Terry Tornek
Members of the City Council
City of Pasadena
175 North Garfield Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91109
Re: COVID-19 and School Openings
On October 15th, the mayors of California’s 13 largest cities signed a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom urging the state to consider reopening schools because they are “extremely concerned about the effects of prolonged distance learning and lack of access to in-person classroom resources on our children.” The letter goes on to request “our state leaders to continue to be proactive, collaborative, and creative in finding pathways to providing critical education and services to our children in a manner that does not negatively impact the health of our students, teachers, staff and families.”
Parents in Pasadena are urging our own Mayor Tornek and Public Health Director Dr. Goh to join these big city mayors in voicing the need to get kids back to school so they can get the in-person education and socialization they need to lessen the negative impact of these past seven months of lockdowns. Pediatricians and public health officials have said again and again that these lockdowns are a “grave injustice” and that keeping our schools closed will cause ”irreparable damage” to our children. And now we are starting to see studies showing that schools are not in fact super-spreader facilities and that fears of infection spikes are being overblown.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health associate professor Joseph Allen states that the risk of COVID can be managed, but that “very few are talking about the risks of kids being out of school.” Sadly, it has become apparent that our childrens’ mental health is not being prioritized by city leaders. It is blatantly obvious that our kids’ mental, academic, and physical health are deteriorating. Seeing kids of all ages struggle with the effects of social isolation requires that this council get involved and stand up for our children like the other big city mayors have already done.
As parents, we can no longer stand idle to an issue that is severely impacting our kids and families. We believe it is the moral obligation of school heads and local elected officials to protect our children’s physical and mental health at this time. Our local petition has received 236 signatures to date, and more are being collected on a daily basis.
Pasadena has always been a stand-out city and now it is time to stand up for our kids. We cannot wait any longer to express our serious concern. We hope you will support sending a letter to Gavin Newsom stating that our kids cannot be on lockdown any longer. They are counting on you.
We appreciate the consideration,
Got something to say, email Managing Editor André Coleman, at andrec@pasadenanowmagazine.