It’s been a few weeks since the mask mandate has lifted, and we have had a glimpse of what life after COVID might look like.
Although Massachusetts is doing relatively well in terms of vaccinations and COVID infections, the situation remains fluid. In the coming weeks, we will continue to feel out what is appropriate and comfortable during class regarding masks and social distancing. As of now, masks and social distancing are required for indoor classes unless all students in a class are vaccinated.
Come August, if we are still in a good place, I am considering making masks optional for vaccinated students.
If, for any reason, folks choose not to get vaccinated, they will be required to continue to wear masks in the school at all times. I am not trying to shame anyone; I appreciate there are some circumstances that will not allow people to get vaccinated (health conditions, allergies, etc.), and I also realize there are valid concerns about the vaccine.
Many of you know I worked in healthcare for about nine years prior to teaching Kung Fu full-time, and I have first-hand experience with the stringent regulations of the healthcare industry. Many of you also know I am an activist who is frequently critical of our government, especially our profit-driven healthcare system. That being said, I have carefully weighed the known risks of the vaccine with the known risks of COVID, and I believe that the vaccine is the safer option, by far. I have gotten the vaccine myself and have had no ill effects thus far. While there have been some deaths after the vaccine, nearly four million people have died of COVID, including my own loved ones…it is nowhere close to an even comparison.
It is also not simply a personal decision – no man is an island. We are a community, and we have to consider the vulnerability of the people around us. According to the C.D.C, “the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection in fully vaccinated people cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is continued community transmission of the virus.” This means that unvaccinated people in the school can pose a risk to other unvaccinated people (like kids or immunocompromised people) in the school, or those living with our vaccinated students.
We have a closely interconnected community, and that includes people who go home to young children, partners, family, and loved ones who can’t get vaccinated. At Metrowest Kung Fu, we will protect those individuals by either being responsibly vaccinated (which I highly encourage able folks to do), or continuing with masks and social distancing for those who don’t get vaccinated. This does mean that students who do not get vaccinated will be excluded from some of the activities in class, including (but not limited to) sparring, push hands, partner drills, self-defense, applications, and qinna.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this protocol, please contact me. As always, I appreciate everyone’s support of our Kung Fu community over the past year. It has been very difficult but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.