Mother writes a powerful open letter to 'the mom sending her unmasked kids to school this fall'
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As kids begin returning to school after a year that was disrupted by the pandemic, masks have become a hot-button issue. While a majority of parents (63%) believe their child's school should require unvaccinated students and staff to wear masks, millions of kids will be attending schools where they are optional.

There is no mask mandate in most U.S. states, so districts are free to do what they choose to protect children.

Currently, vaccines aren't available for children 11 and under and only 30% of kids 12 through 17 are fully vaccinated.


Due to the spread of the Delta variant, the CDC is recommending universal indoor masking for all students ages two and up regardless of vaccination status.

"I do think that mask mandates or universal masking in the school setting should be enforced ... there are still a lot of very susceptible individuals that will be attending school in person," Dr. Tina Tan, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University, said according to CNBC.

However, even though the country's top doctors and scientists say that kids should wear masks in school to protect themselves and to prevent them from spreading the virus to others, millions will go maskless in schools this year.

Today Parents contributor, jthreeNMe from Tampa, Florida, wrote a powerful open letter to the parents who send their kids to school without masks. The message is even more important in her area because Tampa has recently hit its highest 7-day case average of the entire pandemic.

Over 1400 cases were linked to students and staff after school resumed last week.

Here's an edited version of the letter, you can read the entire piece at Today.

Please rethink your decision. And, if you do, and you come to the same non-masking conclusion, I just ask this of you… Please encourage your child not to mock mine for wearing one.

Your kid is following your guidance, which is to trust that corona isn't going to be the thing to take them (or anyone close to them) out. And mine is following mine, which is to be wary that it just might and to be understandably cautious ... just in case.

The mother points out that asking your kids to be accountable to themselves and others is one of the most important learning experiences that children have in school. Sending them maskless upends one of the major goals of their educational experience.

Another school year tainted by corona gives each of us, parents and students and even administrators and teachers alike, another shot at proving just how capable we are of putting our dissimilarities aside and our strength at the forefront, zooming in and focusing on what it is we do have in common in order to grow -- not just in relation to education but us as 'whole people' humans living as close to harmony as possible with one another.

One of the most important things a parent can do is teach their child that they are not the center of the universe and that they have a responsibility to others. If not, the child will grow up entitled and when they come to the harsh realization that the world doesn't revolve around them, they're in for some major pain.

Studies show that kids raised to be entitled wind up becoming unhappy adults.

If there's anything to be gained from this difficult time as a parent is that it's an opportunity to teach your child real responsibility at a time when it matters the most. Kids can tell when their parents are being part of the problem and they want to do what's right and to be "good." Give these kids the opportunity to stop the spread of the virus and let them know they're doing what's right for themselves and their community.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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