Changing the COVID Conversation Takes Open-Mindedness, Persistence

Below is the a copy of the comments I made before the Stafford County Board of Education July 27. Click here to view the meeting.


President Ronald Regan said “government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives. “


That has not been the case, that’s why I am here tonight. My name is Alyssa Halstead. I am a public health emergency manager who worked extensively in the public and private sector to develop, write, and exercise emergency plans, my expertise was biological planning, specifically pandemic planning. I worked for the largest health department in this country and then multiple health departments across this great nation for over 15 years. Based on my work, we have egregiously failed our children by ignoring well-defined strategies designed to protect them. Instead of trusting those plans, we have allowed the CDC, a nongoverning group of scientists to dictate how free Americans live their lives.


I want to talk for a minute about what was in place for the pandemic, The State of VA should have had a Medical Reserve Corps or MRC, you can look them up, it was the state’s obligation through federal funding mandates to ensure that retired (or current) doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, pharmacists, medical examiners, etc. be on this list. Ready to go to help at alternate care sites, special medical needs “shelters” modeled on hurricane evacuation sites, POD sites or points of dispensing, and Command and Control Plans. Public messaging all prepared in advance to ensure the public was calm and knew what to do. We wrote, supply chain management and logistics plans, mass casualty, mass fatality, continuity of operations, you get the idea. I flew hundreds of thousands of miles back and forth across this country writing scenarios to test with local and state leadership. Using FEMA graded, federally funded money to test the plans and identify shortfalls or weaknesses that needed improvement and should be addressed in the upcoming year! So where are those plans? Not a single one activated to help support the hospitals, the communities, the schools. And yet, people remain mad at no mask mandate. I am here to tell you; you are mad at the wrong thing. COVID is a virus, do you know how many viruses exist in the world today with the potential to cause an outbreak. National geographic says there are more than a quadrillion quadrillion individual viruses on Earth.


They say we make plans and God laughs. If you go out tomorrow and die in a car accident are you going to be happy that you spent the last day of your life masked and terrified? You do not take away the right to live fear free, particularly in a time when education and common sense should have prevailed.


The National Vital Statistics System said it was impossible to quantify how many people died of just COVID because of pre-existing conditions and co-morbidity. Yet, we continually allowed the media, the government, and those elected locally, to help keep us safe from this level of overreach, beat us over the head and into submission. We, as parents, have failed our kids and we must live with that. It’s time to stop perpetuating the lies. Lies that resulted in online schooling for our children and mask mandates stripping them of their fundamental right to be kids, innocent and free from fear, it’s our job to protect them but we haven’t. we’ve taken away their right to be individuals to participate in school or town activities, to smile at each other or a stranger, to hug a friend in need, and worse we told them they are responsible for OTHER people’s health and happiness. The ramifications of this I fear we will not know for years.


We have seen Increases in drug use and abuse in teenagers, suicides, we’ve watched family members turn against each other, encouraged neighbors and strangers to publicly shame each other, and isolated our children for nothing.


We the parents, come together now to ensure this level of control doesn’t continue to happen or happen again. I shudder to think of the children who live in abusive homes who had nowhere to go because schools and public buildings, such as libraries and community centers, were closed to them. By not pushing back against unconstitutional mandates, we failed them and so many others, because we didn’t say NO MORE. Children are resilient that doesn’t mean we push them to the edge and expect them to come out of it unscathed. In my career I worked with doctors, scientists, and academicians not a single one of them ever talked about doing any of what’s been done to our kids. They wouldn’t have even considered it because it’s unfair, it’s unconstitutional and it’s unAmerican. The handling of this virus was politics, plain and simple.


Recently, someone said “The fight of parents today will determine the faith of the future”. Faith in themselves and their ability to stand up for themselves and each other in difficult times. Faith in humanity, faith in God for where there is faith there is hope. That’s something we haven’t been allowed to have in the last year! As adults, we’re living our futures. Our yesterday is gone, so our actions or inactions today, our mistakes, successes and failures impact our children’s future.


Tonight, you have one chance to change the course of the future by saying no more. Our children deserve better than this. When you were elected, you made a commitment to serve and protect our children. I urge you; we urge you to do that now. You have the power to be a hero to these children or to burden them with a lifetime of living in fear, health issues, and the inability to trust others will do the right thing.


No one said it was going to be easy, our children are worth the fight!