Why I want you to wear a mask: I am a full-time single parent of two children, one of whom has moderate autism with severe behaviors. I am a 49-year-old man of moderately good health, I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years, I eat well, exercise, and probably have an average risk factor to COVID 19. However, I need to be ultra careful, because there is nobody who can step in and care for my autistic child. No family member, no baby sitter, no nanny, just me.

So what would happen if I were hospitalized? My autistic son would have to be taken by social workers who, though trained, would have no idea how to handle him. He would engage in self-injurious behavior and potentially attack those tasked with caring for him. He would be ripped from his routine, his home, and his safety bubble, and cast to the proverbial wolves. The effect would be horrific on him.

That fact haunts me night and day, and makes me take extraordinary actions to stay safe, not for my own sake, but for the sake of my child.

For that reason, I ask my fellow community members to take this virus seriously, and do the simple act of wearing a mask, social distance, and wash your hands regularly, so that we can decrease the risk of this virus. Doing that will make it possible for in-person schooling, which would be the greatest boost to our economy, not to mention my mental health, as I am currently on duty 24/7 for my child, never getting a break.

We all appreciate teachers a lot more these days, and the best way we can support them, yep you guessed it, is to wear a mask.


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