COVID Shows WSDOH ‘Violating’ Own Mission Statements? (Op-Ed)
The following letter was sent to area school District officials by Dr. Amy Person of the Benton Franklin Health District, on the eve of many of them deciding whether to open schools this fall:
“The Benton Franklin Health District understands the important roles the schools play in providing quality education, social emotional learning, addressing special needs and providing assistance meeting basic needs. However, we also believe that protecting the health of our students and schools staff should be a priority.
“At this time, I do not recommend schools reopen on Sept. 1, 2020 for in-person instruction, except for consideration for small groups, smaller than five, to support educationally at-risk students (with special needs.)”
Richland based their decision to go on line for the start of the school year in large part upon this letter. Now it has many questioning the power and authority of local health districts as well as their parent, the Washington State Department of Health.
As of this writing, Kennewick had yet (Wednesday noon) to make a formal decision on in class schooling, Pasco has deferred theirs to August 11th. In the opinion of many parents, input has become irrelevant. They believe the schools will do what the Health Department demands regardless of parental opinions.
All you have to do is read survey results to the Districts, comments on social media and input from concerned citizens, parents, even students. It appears it falls on deaf ears. And, it likely starts at the top--the state level.
According to the organizational chart of the WSDOH, Secretary John Wiesman is at the top, then a board of advisors and assistants. Then come the different department heads and finally the local county health directors. It is interesting that the WSDOH and county health districts carry so much weight in these matters.
Yes we are dealing with the seriousness of COVID. But it appears whatever the health district wants, it gets--regardless of conflicting data or public opinion. From studies in Sweden, China, and the New England Journal of Medicine (July 9), there's a lot of data to support that children don't easily spread COVID, the effects on them are usually negligible, and, in B-F counties, no deaths have occurred under the age of 40. Of the combined 6,429 cases in B-F county as of July 28, 12% were ages 0-19 in Benton, and 17% in Franklin.
The same goes for the constant warnings about rising death rates and hospitalizations, yet the B-F county percentages and demographics are not changing. COVID still affects those over 60 and with underlying health conditions the worst. In fact, for example, the percentage of hospitalized persons with COVID or COVID like symptoms has dropped to it's lowest number in weeks if not months--17%. We've never seen it above 21-22 percent. Again, this is the percentage of people IN THE hospital with COVID or symptoms out of all who are in beds. NOT percentage of the entire B-F county populations.
Yet, time after time the Health District clamps down with more and more restrictions on business, education, and society in general. Instead of utilizing every bit or credible data to make decisions that are less damaging, they just plow ahead with their narrowly focused agenda.
These health districts get their "guidance" from Wiesman and state officials, mandates come from the state. This is where it gets interesting.
As part of the WSDOH comprehensive plan 2020, on page 10, there's a section entitled Future State of The Agency. It contains benchmarks they wish to achieve in providing health care. One of them is called inclusive partnerships, and it contains the following line:
"Inclusive partnerships – We are inclusive, and authentically engage communities through formal and informal channels. We are led by communities and support communities in the way they determine is best for themselves." (bold lettering added for emphasis).
Do many of the decisions made locally meet this criteria? In the way they determine is best for themselves? Inclusion? Has the Health Department and WSDOH consulted with business, educators, ground level people who really make the economy and educational systems go?
Given the mandatory lockdowns, educational manipulation and moving goalposts, one would have to give a resounding "no." Otherwise we would not be in Phase 1.5, facing an indefinite economic and education bog that parents, workers, students and other citizens have to wade through.
To see the WSDOH plan and this information for yourself, click on the button below.