Campbell urges Tippecanoe County commissioners to follow health department recommendation
INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Chris Campbell (D-West Lafayette) today sent a letter to the Tippecanoe County Commissioners, urging them to follow the Tippecanoe County Health Department's recommendation of imposing a mask mandate within all of Tippecanoe County's K-12 schools.
Senate Enrolled Act 5, which was originally vetoed by Governor Holcomb before being overridden by the Republican supermajority of the General Assembly, requires any local health orders to be approved by the county legislative body, in this case, the County Commissioners.
Campbell opposed the legislation as it moved through the General Assembly and voted to support the Governor's veto of it in early May.
“SEA 5 completely undermines the authority and trust of local health departments,” Campbell said.
“Our state and local health departments are staffed by hundreds of experts, who have been fighting this pandemic for well over a year now. They understand the COVID-19 virus in a way that local officials, like the Tippecanoe County Commissioners, simply cannot. We need to heed the Tippecanoe County Health Department's warning and impose a K-12 mask mandate as soon as possible, for the health and safety of our students, teachers and staff.”
Read Campbell's full letter below.
August 19, 2021
Commissioners of Tippecanoe County
20 N 3rd Street
Lafayette, IN 47901
After hearing the pleas from the Tippecanoe County Health Department for all schools in the area to require masks while students are indoors, I would have hoped for a different outcome. The refusal to impose a universal mask mandate in the schools is not in the best interest of the public considering the recommendations given by the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Indiana Department of Health. I urge you to reconsider issuing a mask mandate that will protect the health of the students, their families, and the wide number of faculty and staff across Tippecanoe County.
As cases continue to rise due to the transmissible delta variant, it is important that we are proactive with our approach. Upon the adoption of Senate Enrolled Act 5, the Board of Commissioners has been tasked with the approval of such a mandate to take effect. I believe it is incumbent upon the elected officials to follow the advice set out by the Tippecanoe County Health Department. I encourage you to support recommendations that allow for the implementation of a mask mandate to protect these high-risk spaces.
We must address the overall safety in our schools. Children under the age of 12 are unable to get vaccinated. Sending them to school with the option to wear their masks amid a pandemic is not ethical. The recommendations from the CDC are clear and will enable the safety of our community. The best decision we could make is to ensure families know their children are safe while at school.
The Tippecanoe County Health Department has properly evaluated our community and made the proper recommendations that will help us all get through this challenging time. Our children can avoid sickness, quarantine and the amount of time spent in virtual instruction if we make the right move the first time.
It is going to take all of us to combat this pandemic. Please support the Tippecanoe County Health Department by allowing them to perform the job they have been hired to do. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter.
House District 26