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Back to School PA Joins National Push to Keep Classrooms Open This Fall

Back to School PA PAC, an influential local parents’ rights group, has joined a national effort challenging the Biden administration to commit to keeping classrooms open in the fall, even if COVID-19 cases continue. It’s an attempt to force the Centers for Disease Control and other public health professionals to acknowledge the research showing the impact of closed classrooms was more damaging to children than the coronavirus.

The open letter was penned by a coalition of scientists, doctors and mental health professionals under the auspices of Urgency of Normal, a group that is concerned that COVID-19 mitigation measures are hurting rather than helping children.

The letter emphasizes that CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines for children do more harm than good and continue to cause significant disruption to children’s education and to working parents while providing no demonstrable public health benefit in limiting the spread.

“Currently, nearly all U.S. adults and children are protected by either vaccination or infection-acquired immunity, and the U.S. is seeing far lower hospitalization and mortality rates than in prior surges. CDC policies have serious unintended consequences–-such as school closures, increased school absences, forcing parents to miss work, and the expense and time of testing,” the group said in a press release.

“Our nation’s children suffered tremendous learning loss as a result of prolonged school closures and are battling a well-documented mental health crisis, and ongoing COVID-19 testing and isolation periods are causing additional harm,” the letter said.

Back to School PA supported school board candidates across the state in 2021 who believed schools should remain open. They endorsed more than 200 candidates and nearly 60 percent won their races. And their predecessor organization, Keeping Kids in School PAC, had a 98 percent success rate in the 2021 primary for the candidates it endorsed.

Beth Ann Rosica

“It’s a nonpartisan group of physicians and parent groups that are advocating to get back to normal for kids,” said Beth Ann Rosica, Back to School executive director. “A lot of these mandates that have been happening all over the country…So they put together a toolkit back in (the winter) to help schools and people who work with kids to put policies in place that would allow kids to experience a more normal childhood. And Back to School PA pushed that out to our parent groups. And I personally went to my own school board, trying to advocate for more normal policies for our kids.”

The letter asks the CDC and the White House to “enact policies that are more reasonable because, even though here in Pennsylvania most schools are unmasked, there are still issues impending,” said Rosica.

“Because we know that cases are going to go up again in the fall and many of the schools have policies that allow for masking up again at certain levels of transmission,” Rosica said.”

And certain school districts were requiring vaccinations for activities like participating in sports, she said.

The letter is “very much of our beliefs and philosophy,” said Rosica. “That parents should be making these decisions and not school districts or even necessarily public health officials. We think it’s a good message.”

“And it’s not political, even though some will say it is,” said Rosica. “These are liberal doctors, conservative doctors, all different kinds of community groups.”

“We have written this letter because the lives of children and their families continue to be disrupted by unnecessary COVID-19 testing, isolation, and vaccine requirements. With high levels of both vaccination and infection-acquired immunity, it is time to lift the COVID-19 mitigation measures that are preventing our children from unconditionally participating in school, camps, and sports,” said co-author Dr. Eliza Holland, a pediatric hospitalist in Charlottesville, Va.

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Dr. Oz Holds Town Hall Meeting in West Chester

U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz took Joy Cahaley’s blood pressure during a town hall meeting in West Chester Thursday morning.

“What gets your blood pressure up?” he asked her.

“Politics,” she said, drawing laughter from the audience of about 200 who turned out to hear Oz speak.

Joy Cahaley and Dr. Mehmet Oz

Cahaley says she is frustrated and worried for her kids and granddaughter.

“Everything is so wrong…We have to be able to think for ourselves,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion. “Believe in what we want. Believe in our freedom and our abilities. Or we’re going to be like Ukraine.”

Oz agreed. Ukraine “needs our assistance,” she continued. “Washington, where are you? They need your help.”

“It is emotional for all of us,” Oz replied.

When he travels to foreign countries, people often ask him to “please take care of America.” Oz told the crowd. His reply: “Why do you care?”

And they tell him America’s democracy is an example for their countries to emulate.

“We’re the north star for a lot of the world,” Oz said. “One of my concerns is China because China must destroy us.” The U.S. is democratic and capitalistic while China is “totalitarian, authoritarian.”

Michael Brown and Dr. Oz

“No one is going to choose China. They’re going to choose us.”

Michael Brown, who came to see the TV celebrity, said he is concerned Oz won’t be able to change what happens in Washington. He also worries about an education system where kids who are not athletes or academic stars feel “less than.”

Oz started a program, HealthCorps, to help schools, kids and parents. And when he was on the President’s Council for Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, he found there is a lack of coaches.

Brown agreed that his wrestling coach had been important to him. Oz said his high school football coach was his mentor, who gave him insight into how to be tough and persevere when things got rough.

“It’s come in handy in the operating room when things aren’t going well and they’re looking for leadership,” said Oz. “If you panic, you’re finished — and so is the patient.”

Oz touched on many of his positions during his talk, saying that he is pro-life and had operated on the tiny heart of an unborn baby. He also favors school choice and opposes critical race theory being taught in public schools, explaining that it is drawn from Marxist ideology.

Oz said he decided to run for office after seeing the “authoritarian” way the government handled the COVID pandemic, and how government and “big tech” combined to censor people from expressing differing points of view.

“Our nation is in crisis and it’s not right for me to hide in my (television) studio,” he said. “Which is a nice safe, sequestered place with a lot of people pampering me or to hide in the operating room, which for doctors is a very safe place to be, too, by the way.”

“Not for the patients,” he joked.

“What’s the point if I’m going to watch the world around me, a country I love dearly, what’s the point?” he said. America “did not have to take in my family.” His dad was a Turkish doctor who was recruited to come here in the 1950s when there was a physician shortage, Oz said.

America “gave us an unbelievable opportunity. It’s come time to pay that debt.”

During COVID he learned from doctors in other countries that an inexpensive malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, might work. “And I was so excited. And then President Trump mentioned it,” he said.

“The media hated (Trump) so much that they didn’t want this to work. They rooted against hydroxychloroquine. Even today after two years, we don’t know if it works,” he said.

Oz aid he tried to fund a study of that drug, but former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo quashed it.

On energy policy, Oz said the “Green New Deal will not work scientifically. Forget about policy. It’s not going to work…And we have to get the natural gas from under our feet, which we have more of than just about anybody on the planet, enough to power our nation for hundreds of years, and start using it. But we have nonpolitical people blocking that…activists prevent energy companies from putting safe and ecological pipelines through New York State to New England with natural gas from us. So guess where New Jersey and New England get their natural gas from? They import it.”

“They get oil from Russia when they don’t have enough, so we’re aiding and abetting our enemies and hurting ourselves, our national security, our energy independence goes away,” he said. “And no one thinks it’s a good idea for our country not to be able to protect itself with energy. Look what happened in Europe. The Germans gave up their nuclear plants because it was the woke thing to do. Now they have no energy. They have to trust the Russians. Bad move. Putin is able to hold them, hostage while invading those poor Ukrainians, who had nothing to do with this.”

Although Oz did not say much about the crisis in Ukraine at his West Chester event, he did discuss it with Fox host Sean Hannity. He described the humanitarian crisis, including children being treated for cancer who are sheltering in hospital basements.

“Putin is this murderous thug and he’s causing all kinds of consequences independent of the ones we’re seeing on TV,” Oz said. “I just don’t understand why we’re importing Russian oil. I do not know why Joe Biden did not bring it up in the State of the Union. It’s one of the reasons Putin feels enabled. He can’t believe his luck.”

Earlier polls showed Oz was the clear leader among the Republican candidates for Senate. However, a Franklin & Marshall poll released Thursday showed the top three candidates within a few points of each other.

Hedge fund manager David McCormick leads at 13 percent, followed by former ambassador Carla Sands at 11 percent, and Oz at 10 percent.

Afterward, Brown said he will support Oz, but Cahaley is uncertain, telling the Delaware Valley Journal she also likes Kathy Barnette.

Kathy Luisi of Tredyffrin said, “I thought (Oz) was excellent.” She is the mother of adopted children and is pro-life. She also liked his support of school choice.

“I was impressed with him,” said Rhonda Holly of Glenmoore. “I like everything I heard.”

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STEIN: Looking Back at DelVal News for 2021

“There is a Chinese curse which says May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind,” Robert F. Kennedy said in 1966.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, the country and the Delaware Valley have been living in “interesting times,” to say the least. Everything from shopping to education to sports has been seen through the lens of COVID, and whether it might lead one to contract it or would mitigate the virus.

Local and state governments collected numbers and issued mandates. Schools were locked down, reopened, and some locked down again. One of the biggest political stories the Delaware Valley Journal covered in 2021 was the rise of parent power. Parents objected to COVID lockdowns and masks at school board meetings, parents opposed to Critical Race Theory, and shocked parents asking school boards to remove what they deem as pornographic books from school libraries, along with school boards limiting parents’ free speech rights.

This also gave rise to election victories for school board candidates who promised not to shut down schools again and the successful statewide political strategy of Back to School PA PAC, which gave about $700,000 to back those candidates’ campaigns.

Another big story this year is crime and violence in Philadelphia, arguably driven by progressive prosecution—or lack thereof—by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office headed by DA Larry Krasner, who was re-elected in November. As of this writing, 555 people were victims of homicide in Philadelphia in 2021—a horrific new record.

At the state government level, voters sent a clear message to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in May when they approved ballot initiatives limiting his emergency powers. It was a also the year when amazing numbers of Republican candidates began vying for the governor’s seat in the 2022 primary, along with similarly large  fields of hopefuls of both parties seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Toomey. The Senate race, which may tip the balance of the Senate, could become one of the most closely-watched political contests in the U.S.

The 2021 election process in some DelVal counties also came under fire as delays, mistakes, and mail-in ballots caused consternation.  That has also been a huge issue nationwide since former President Donald Trump questioned the validity of the election process that resulted in his defeat in the swing states, including Pennsylvania. And a lawsuit was filed against Delaware County officials alleging malfeasance in the handling of the 2020 election there.

Another statewide issue in the DelVal Journal was Wolf’s unilateral plunge into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a move that will undoubtedly limit Pennsylvania’s job growth and drive up energy costs for businesses and residents.

RGGI is supposed to reduce greenhouse gases by an auction process for power producers and industrial plants in 12 states, which buy credits to offset emissions. But those other RGGI states are not energy producers like Pennsylvania, with its wealth of natural gas.

And we have closely followed the controversy over the $6.1 billion Mariner East II pipeline. Some residents who live in the vicinity of the pipeline along with public officials have fought the pipeline, while overlooking clear benefits from the pipeline for employment, safety over rail or truck transport, and reduced energy costs. Luckily, for the economy of the DelVal region those efforts appear to have failed and the project is on track for completion.

Locally, Hurricane Ida hit some DelVal areas hard with flood damage as streams overflowed their banks while tornadoes pummeled parts of Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

National issues of inflation and supply-side woes also affected the Delaware Valley region as the Biden administration’s energy and regulatory policies began to be felt here.

In Norristown, the DelVal Journal broke a story regarding Norristown Area School Board President Shae Ashe sending sexually suggestive messages on social media to an underage Norristown High School girl. In the wake of those articles, Ashe resigned from the board and, although he was re-elected, did not return to it.

In Delaware County, the new Health Department, promised by Democrats who were elected to a majority in the county council in 2019, is taking shape and expected to open in 2022. It will cost taxpayers an estimated $10 million its first year.

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DR. OZ: President Biden’s COVID Fumble

While running for President, Joe Biden frequently claimed in his stump speech, “I am going to shut down the virus.” Now, almost a year into his presidency, evidence that he’s made good on his promise is nowhere to be found.

For all his tough campaign rhetoric, the Biden administration’s response to the prolonged COVID pandemic has been largely confusing, disorganized, and has fallen far short of its intended goals.

President Biden is fumbling the ball at the goal line after President Trump drove the ball all the way down the field.

Thanks to the brilliance of President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, America gave the gift of mRNA vaccines to the world and saved millions of lives, but there is more work to be done.

President Biden’s handling of the vaccine booster situation has left many Americans unsure of if and when they’re eligible for such a booster. We’re also behind other nations when it comes to at-home testing. This shouldn’t be the reality for a nation with the resources and ingenuity that America does.

To conquer this disease once and for all, we have to get bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci, who have lost the confidence of the American people, out of the way. President Biden needs to fully unleash the spirit of American innovation to crush this virus.

By now, we should be able to treat those infected with COVID far better, but we still don’t have enough FDA-approved therapeutics to treat people. While the President has made a number of videos with celebrities to promote vaccines, his administration hasn’t shown the same enthusiasm for potentially life-saving treatments.

It’s unfortunate that COVID-19 became political and an excuse for the government and many in the corporate media to control the means of communication to suspend debate.

To make matters worse, recently published emails show the level America’s medical leadership went to silence those who did not prescribe to their ethos. There was a coordinated effort between Dr. Fauci, the media, and tech companies to muzzle dissenting opinions from leading scholars so their ideas could not be disseminated. From the start, therapeutics meant to help with COVID-19 were regularly discounted by the medical establishment, and as a result, many great ideas were squashed and discredited.

President Biden’s message to the American people in the wake of the Omicron variant has been nothing short of fearmongering – and he’s refused to take accountability for his failures.

This summer, while the border crisis raged, President Biden largely ignored the fact that 18 percent of illegal immigrants released from Border Patrol custody tested positive for the virus – a risk to the health and safety of many Americans. But President Biden’s response to the summer surge of cases was instead a number of burdensome vaccine mandates that instead threatened Americans’ livelihoods.

Now, as we watch case counts rise again many Americans are worried we’ll be returning to the lockdowns that crippled their businesses, harmed their children’s education, and stifled their freedoms.

To those pushing lockdowns, I urge you to follow the science. I want our businesses open and students fully in the classroom. I understand the truth, the data, and the science behind combatting COVID better than anyone in this race. Special interest groups have tried to keep America closed, and I am running for Senate to put our businesses, our schools, and our communities first.

To combat this virus, America needs new leaders and new ideas, not just star-studded ad campaigns and a return to the same restrictions that put our lives on hold. I’m committed to using my wealth of experience to pursue policies to help us restore our way of life which will help better the lives of all Pennsylvanians.


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‘Twas The Night Before COVID

Dr. Fauci says Americans should ban their family members from holiday gatherings if they are unvaccinated. “If there’s an unvaccinated person, I would say; ‘I’m very sorry, but not this time, maybe another time when this is all over.’”  –MSNBC

‘Twas the night before Christmas and in every blue state
Mayors were angry, governors, irate!

That nuisance from the North Pole was headed their way
With no vaccine passport, and in an unlicensed sleigh.

“Why won’t he stay home?” Grumbling officials would gripe.
“He’ll ignore our mask mandates — him and his stupid pipe.”

Did his elves have their health inspections? The reindeer their shots?
“Plus, all the kids love him — the ungrateful little snots.”

Teachers from their unions and the FDA with its flaks
Didn’t like some fat white guy giving out sugary snacks.

“Didn’t they learn during COVID we’re the ones they should trust?
Mask mandates for toddlers and Zoom school?— Why that was all us!”

And so they devised a CDC-approved plan
To reach kids on Christmas and help them truly understand.

Which is why, before midnight, as young Bobby slept on his couch he
Was startled to hear: “It’s me — Santa Fauci!”

And so it was, beneath the sparkling Christmas tree,
All 5 feet of Fauci, covered in red and blue PPE.

Little Bobby was befuddled, “What are you doing here?”
“I’m responding to reports of unauthorized Christmas cheer!

“So I jumped in my carbon-free electric vehicle and came in a flash
Because I’ve got hopes of holiday joy I must dash!”

Then he took off with a bound in every direction.
“Has this Elf on a Shelf had his booster injection?”

The doll went in his sack, along with the toys
“They might encourage interaction between unvaccinated girls and boys.”

The egg nog was dumped as a potential health danger
And he looked in askance at the scene of the manger.

“Don’t they know COVID can spread from human OR mammal?
Somebody get that baby away from the camel!”

The room was now empty, no sign of joy, cheer or fun.
And with that, said Santa Fauci, “My work here is done!”

He leapt in his Tesla and as he rode out of sight,
Fauci cried. ‘Everybody back in bed! It’s the middle of the night!”

And so to every American in states red or blue, the CDC has a message:
“No, no, no! No ‘Merry Christmas!’ for you.”

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