The article that ran at on Feb. 7, “NJ ending schools mask mandate, but no decision in Montclair yet,” on the decision whether children will be masked in schools, states that “Superintendent Jonathan Ponds and Montclair Board of Education President Latifah Jannah both said Monday they are awaiting further guidance from the state and will meet with all stakeholders.” The students and parents in the Montclair Public Schools are the stakeholders. We should be deciding if our kids wear masks — not people who have no real skin in the game. If they really want the stakeholders to have a say, hold a vote. Easy peasy.  

An emergency does not last two years. A war does. The human ego is controlling the narrative.  When the “experts” say the emergency has passed, so does their power. So do their TV ads.  Their TV interviews. TV commercials. They are high on having almost two years of absolute control of everything. If you think that any human is above that kind of ego-massaging hubris, you are mistaken. I don’t care how many initials they have after their name.  

Out of 564 New Jersey municipalities, Montclair is one of four that requires masks in public places other than schools. December, at the height of the holiday season, when people go to dinner, go shopping, etc., Councilman Peter Yacobelis decided Montclair needs to wear masks.  Poof!  We are all supposed to mask up within the town limits of Montclair. This is hurting Montclair businesses, whether Mr. Yacobelis cares or not. He and I had a brief, very polite email exchange. I told him I was taking my business to Verona, Cedar Grove, anywhere but masking-Montclair. His exact words: “Hope we can have your business back when things turn around.” He doesn’t give a flip about Montclair businesses or its people. He, along with every other person on TV or making national decisions, knows that the minute the “emergency” is gone, they are no longer as important.  

If you want to mask-up, you do you, as they say — but please let the rest of us make our own decisions. You have the vaccines. You have the boosters. But wait — they don’t prevent you from spreading or contracting the virus, but that is not the point, is it? It is the trope. Mask. Vaccine. Vaccine. Boost. Repeat. Mask. Vaccine. Vaccine. Boost.   

Continue to die on that sword, but let the rest of us go.  Please.  

Harriet Dedman Salem

Editor’s note: The primary purpose of the coronavirus vaccines currently available is to reduce the risk of symptoms or severe illness from COVID-19. While transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to or from a vaccinated individual remains possible, the Centers for Disease Control advises a “growing body of evidence suggests that COVID-19 vaccines also reduce asymptomatic infection and transmission,” including for more recent, highly contagious variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Breakthrough infections — those of vaccinated individuals — “have been observed, albeit at much lower rates than infections among unvaccinated persons,” the CDC says.


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