President Biden has declared that the pandemic is over but one private upstate New York school in Ithaca is still forcing students to wear masks outside, engage in silent lunches, and social distance in a continuance of strict COVID measures.
The Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca (EACMSI) is still imposing draconian measures on its students three years after the pandemic began, according to a report.
The private school costs $18,000 a year to attend. It is one of the last schools in the country to impose COVID measures like this, The Free Press reported.
Dr. Beth Stein pulled her children out of the school and enrolled them in another private one because of the strict pandemic measure kept in place. She told the Free Press that she initially welcomed the precautions, but they became overly burdensome as time dragged on.
“I could tolerate most of the stuff — the teachers in N95s and face shields while standing behind plexiglass barriers, the 12 feet of distance for band members, the ban on singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in class,” she recounted. “I just wanted them to end the outdoor masking.”
Stein is board-certified. She also asserted that her children were practically kicked out of the school after she complained to the administrators there about outdoor masking.
The school does not have a cafeteria and students eat their lunch in their classrooms. According to Stein, her 13-year-old’s teacher would sometimes play movies during lunch, but many days they ate in complete silence. If a student asked a question during lunch, the child would have to first put their mask on so they could speak. They could then take it off to eat.
On some days, teachers would continue to teach while students ate.
The EACMSI admin seems to understand that to change the policy absent a change in circumstance (which there has not been for some time) is a tactic admission that the policy was unfounded in the first place.
IOW, they find torturing kids preferable to admitting they were wrong.
— AJ Kay (@AJKayWriter) April 11, 2023
Stein’s 10-year-old daughter told her mother that students wanted to speak with each other so badly that they created their own sign language to do so.
“We just really wanted to talk,” the girl commented.
In January, when EACMSI held a student orchestra performance indoors, those playing wind instruments were still ridiculously required to wear masks, according to the report. Parents were forced to improvise and find a way to alter the masks so their children could play the instrument and have their faces covered at the same time.
“I see the current situation as ridiculous,” one parent, who insists on staying anonymous, told The Free Press.
The Story of Why Kids at Ithaca Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School Are Still Masked
"It is also the story of how…many [authority figures] believed that the more extreme the response to the virus, the more wise and virtuous the policy."#covid19 https://t.co/z2VZyMilwH
— shovas (@shovas) April 10, 2023
Approximately 220 students between the ages of 3 and 14 or 15 are enrolled in the school. The private learning center claims its “pedagogy is child-centered, hands-on, individualized, and serves the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.”
The school’s policies go far beyond what even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended. The CDC only recommends wearing a mask in the nurse’s office or if a community has high rates of the virus.
CDC COVID guidelines currently recommend staying home if a student is sick, which they would do anyway. It also recommends improving ventilation in school buildings and encouraging students to stay up-to-date on vaccinations.
"Masking has been extremely effective in protecting our students and staff while they are on campus," EACMSI told The Free Press in a statement.
— Barry Hunt – #DavosSafe (@BarryHunt008) April 15, 2023
EACMSI issued a statement to The Free Press asserting that “masking has been extremely effective in protecting our students and staff while they are on campus” and bragged the school had almost no on-campus transmission since reopening in the fall of 2020. It also announced that masks would be optional in the next academic year.
The Free Press concluded its reporting by saying, “The parents who send their children to Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School are highly educated people. But with very rare exception, that has not given them the wherewithal to stand up to absurd rules being imposed upon their children and say: ‘Enough.'”
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