I am a parent of two children attending Douglas County schools, and I am a practicing physician. I support continued layered COVID mitigation measures, including universal pre-K through 12 mask wearing, to keep our schools safe for our students, teachers, staff, and the surrounding community. Universal K-12 mask wearing is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, and Tri-County Health Department. The newly formed Douglas County “board of health” has no actual public health expertise. The one physician on the board of health is a diagnostic radiologist, not a clinician, and without public health expertise to contribute.

Reviewing the Tri-County Health COVID-19 dashboard on December 6, 2021, Douglas County ICU beds are at 100% of capacity. Douglas County inpatient beds are at 99% of capacity. Health care system capacity is limited. Healthcare caregivers are a limited resource. This is not the time to be pulling back COVID mitigation measures and allowing COVID to spread like wildfire through our community. Listen to the experts at Tri-County Health, not the ideologues at the Douglas County “board of health.”

Having an environment with the lowest possible level of COVID transmission benefits student, teacher, and staff safety. Having the lowest possible level of COVID transmission promotes continued in-person learning. In public education, these are goals we should all support.

We could be conservative in terms of protecting student and staff safety, by enhancing layered COVID mitigation measures, including universal mask wearing. Instead, this board is choosing radical libertarianism and endorses extreme selfishness.

Eiko Browning, M.D.

Highlands Ranch