JUST MY OPINION ABOUT MANDATORY VACCINATIONS AND MASKS                                                       by Tamara Pettit

“With every right  comes a responsibility.”

       Can you be mandated to wear a mask?  Can you be required to get a COVID vaccine?  Is the freedom to do whatever you choose guaranteed to you by the Constitution?  The debate rages on as the COVID pandemic accelerates and like anyone else I am on edge.  I don’t think anyone is wavering on this debate and I am incensed when I see someone post on Facebook about his/her right to refuse to get vaccinated or wear a mask .   Lucky for me, rather then responding in anger to the individual post I can count to ten and then share my thoughts in our newspaper.

      The Constitution does grant you rights, but those rights don’t come at the risk of others.  We have a right to bear arms, but the government and the individual has the responsibility to ensure that someone not of a right mind or intention doesn’t enter a workplace with a loaded gun.

     As someone who has held her breath throughout the COVID epidemic due to a loved one with a compromised immune system due to four months of chemotherapy, I marvel at the lack of responsibility I see in those who claim a right to not get vaccinated.  They seem to ignore their responsibility not to cause harm to anyone else.    We have taken every precaution necessary to avoid COVID and yet, because someone else chooses to risk their own sickness and death, we too are at risk.   That type of self-righteousness, self-importance and disregard for another’s life is perhaps the greatest form of narcissism I have seen in my lifetime.

     I applaud the Hancock County School Administration and the four school board members: KaserHinerman, Chappell and Shaw  who voted to mandate masks in our schools and buses.  They acted swiftly and without hesitation to do the right thing when presented with an escalating COVID transmission situation.  They are fulfilling the responsibility placed upon them by the voters when elected to their position. 

   School Nurse Director Kathy Dray spoke directly and succinctly to the core of the Board’s actions when she said “If one Hancock County child ends up on a ventilator due to COVID, it won’t be on Kathy Dray’s watch.”

     I thank all our County administrators, educators and employees for stepping up to take the responsibility to do everything they can to keep our students, employees and familieshealthy.