OPINION: If 70,000 people can go without masks at the Super Bowl, then our kids can too

by Megan Haley

Governing Board Member, Hemet USD

Yesterday, the California Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Max Ghaly spoke on behalf of the California Public Health Department, Dr. Max Ghaly and issued a statement that said, “his staff would continue to evaluate data on the pandemic in society generally and in schools specifically and then provide a public assessment of California’s school masking policy on Feb. 28.”

This statement comes in light of the recent mega event at Sofi Stadium otherwise known as the Super Bowl. An event where our elected leaders, self-appointed celebrity officials and the general public celebrated the LA Rams recent successful bid to be Super Bowl champions. This event was celebrated by over 70,000 people housed under the same roof for an extended period of time without masks, presumably the same amount of time our students spend in the classroom with masks. 

It has been almost 23 months since the pandemic began in March of 2019. During this time there has been a lot learned by our doctors, scientists, politicians and the general public. I have learned a lot too, not only about the pandemic but also about our elected leaders and the choices and decisions that have been made for us. 

Last week, our local conservative elected officials put forward a bill to the CA legislature, SCR-5 to end the state of emergency and withdraw the emergency powers given to the Governor. This was promptly voted down by our democratic officials. We are supposed to be a government by the people, for the people but more and more it seems we are treated as subjects serving an elected emperor. An emperor that has been given unlimited power in the last 2 years and who refuses to relinquish it even when all evidence points to the end of the pandemic. An emperor who he himself recently participated in a large sporting event during a time in which we were operating under a state of emergency without a mandated mask. 

For me, the last 23 months have been filled with feelings of angst, fear, indecision, loss and frustration. I have shared repeatedly about my concern as it relates to a loss of local control, a fear in which I believe we have given too much power to a single individual and fear the repercussions of those decisions as we navigate forward in leading our local schools. 

Dr. Ghaly’s continued indecision related to the mask mandates in school is inexcusable and absurd. I have attempted during the last 23 months to trust in our officials, believe in their decision-making efforts and support them as a team player. At this point, our elected officials are failing our students. The same students that watched you on TV at the play-off game and now at the Super Bowl tromping all over the state of emergency and waving your mask like a banner of hypocrisy. 

I urge my fellow board members to join me in pushing this issue forward and discarding the mask mandate for our district. If 70000 people can attend a mega-event without masks then our students can go to school without them.