100 signatures reached
To: SC State Government
Protect Our Children and Reduce the Spread of COVID 19 in SC
Henry McMaster, Alan Wilson, SCDHEC, SCED, SC House, and SC Senate,
Please exercise all of the power and influence accessible to you to stop the spread of COVID 19 by mandating CDC guidelines for all South Carolina citizens, especially for our children and young adults in public K-12 institutions. Specifically, and most urgently, by repealing Proviso 1.108, and more broadly by mandating masks and encouraging vaccinations as noble and necessary measures urgently needed for the greater good of South Carolinians. Laws often impede individual freedoms when those laws protect others.
I don’t envy your position right now, and I really mean that. I also watch in astonishment as you continually relinquish any power and influence you have to stop the spread of COVID 19 in South Carolina, and instead delegate the responsibility to the constituents you are charged with leading. Who will protect us?
In South Carolina we have one of the highest infection rates per capita in the world, so it seems like a good time to reexamine our mitigation protocols. Instead, you say, “The answer is vaccination,” and revoke authority of our schools to invoke recommended safety protocols. A large swath of our population here in SC refuses to be vaccinated despite you standing at your podium saying it’s the answer. I’m at a loss for why our SC government isn’t fighting with everything they/you have to mitigate the risk, and why in some ways you seem to be actively fighting against it. If you can’t issue mask mandates, why do you actively fight against them, and who CAN issue mask mandates?
I watch in horror as our children and their teachers are falling ill and dying. Every day when I’m exposed to hundreds of people at work, I wonder when it will be safe to visit my mom again. Every time I go to my local grocery store I worry after having been exposed to largely mask-less shoppers. I avoid other shops because that would expose me to unnecessary risk of COVID 19. I don’t eat out anymore. I’m skipping a group hike this morning because the delta variant spreads outside. I know I’m unlikely to die since I’m vaccinated, but my bar is higher than I-won’t-die. My bar is, “Am I doing every reasonable thing I can to stop the spread of COVID 19, and keep my loved ones safe?” While I’m not a spokesperson for all vaccinated people, I can tell you this vaccinated person desperately wants us to consider raising our collective bar. I don’t mind making sacrifices to keep my fellow humans safe. I very much mind sacrificing while our state leaders recklessly shift the responsibility to constituents – a strategy that has proven itself ineffective.
I don't think the view from where I'm standing is much different from anyone else right now. Just in the past week, three people I know are grieving the loss of a mother, a son, and a mother-in-law – all to COVID. Five people in a neighboring household are down with COVID. Another person just got back to work after 5 weeks of severe COVID. He survived. His son did not. A few weeks ago, we lost two coworkers on the same day due to COVID. My young, adult, vaccinated daughter is still recovering from a breakthrough infection she got from a vaccinated friend. It’s been two weeks and her fever is broken, but she still struggles with loss of taste and smell and is now suffering debilitating nerve pain cause by COVID. She has been out of work at her minimum wage job with no sick pay. My social media newsfeeds are filled with death every single day. It’s all very traumatic.
We have a lot of laws that impede our freedoms when public safety would be at risk. If you’re saying that you can’t impede personal freedoms to mitigate the spread of COVID 19, then how can you make, and enforce, drunk driving laws? Or speeding, or any other traffic laws? How can you have laws that prevent people from shooting guns in residential areas? How can schools send kids home who have a fever? Or head lice? Or for wearing a tank top? How can you disallow kids driving on the road before they’re licensed because parents deemed their kids as responsible and mature enough to do so? How can you stand behind all the laws that promote public safety and stand in the way of mitigation efforts for the worst threat to public safety we’ve seen in our lifetime?
Why is this important?
Disinformation and complaints of inconvenience should not drive our state's policies for public safety, especially when it's our children we're protecting. I truly believe our collective voices can cause change for the better.