Policy needed for Howes House


To the Editor:

Thank you for the article regarding the Up-Island Council on Aging vaccination situation (“Vaccination question lurks at Howes House,” in the News section). As reported, the rumor that staff members at the UICoA may, in fact, be choosing not to vaccinate is troubling. I am pleased to have brought the situation to the select board. 

Of course, if one has medical or religious observances that make vaccination unacceptable, regulations permit their continued employment. 

However, the notion that an employee serving the needs of the Island’s elderly — the most vulnerable of our population — would choose not to do everything possible to protect these “customers” is not just troubling but alarming. 

The rules for reopening the UICoA, a.k.a. Howes House, which include everyone wearing a mask, place the safety of seniors at risk. Seniors (who have been vaccinated) with existing age and health challenges should not be trying to exercise wearing a mask. 

Seniors (who have been vaccinated) and gather at Howes House for socialization (playing bridge, mah jongg, painting lessons, etc.) need to be able to actually socialize. A smile — you can see — goes a long way to feeling reconnected, post-pandemic. 

At the select board’s meeting on June 30, the agenda will include a discussion of the creation of a town policy regarding this situation. I urge every one of you who cares about our seniors and public safety to attend. 

Susan Silk
West Tisbury