As pressure mounts to lift New York's mandates on school children, and on school children across the nation, teachers union president Randi Weingarten claims that there's just not enough evidence to let children go to school unmasked. Dr. Anthony Fauci is also pro-masks for school children.
"So at what point do we just say, it's time to get rid of the masks? Isn't there enough science available already?" Weingarten was asked on Tuesday's Morning Joe with MSNBC.
"Well, that's why I'm saying that we're, if we, y'know, we believe in an off-ramp. I asked for, I asked Dr. Cardona [Biden's Education Secretary] and Dr. Walensky to start planning for an off-ramp in November, pre-Omicron. But then you had the Omicron surge, and the masks were back on," Weingarten said.
New York City's school children have not been unmasked at any point during the course of the pandemic. When they came back to school for a blended learning model in the fall of 2020, they were fully masked. They have remained so to this day. The movement to unmask school children continues to grow as parents are fed up with restrictions being lifted on everyone except children. In New York, Hochul has enforced masked mandates for children who are only 2 years old.
Dr. Carol Vidal, a child psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins told CBS said that it's far past time for masks to be removed from children's faces during the school day. "It's really hard to measure right now the effects of masking all the time.. I would expect that we would find that it's going to be causing harmful effects because we are not designed to communicate with masks," Vidal said.
"And then the K-95 masks were back on," Weingarten said. "So the real question becomes, how do we make sure that people can plan for it, and what are the measures so everybody knows, so it doesn't feel like it's based upon politics? It feels like it's based upon making sure that there's no transmission in school."
"And it feels like," she want on to say, "the four or five different factors, which is what New Jersey used, are vaccination rates, that's what Massachusetts uses; low community spread, thank God, Omicron is down to like 3 or 4 percent in New York and New Jersey; low hospitalizations."
"And it, and so, I'm just asking the CDC to actually weigh in here so that we have that kind of guidance around the country," Weingarten said.
On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy lifted mask mandates for the state. California's Governor Gavin Newsom lifted them for vaccinated individuals indoors, but not for schools. California students have gone so far as to stage mask revolts, which were punished by teachers.
New York's unelected Governor Kathy Hochul has given no indication that she's even open to the idea of ending school mask mandates. Chicago schools have also insisted that masking should continue, under threats from a very belligerent Chicago Teachers Union.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's COVID spokesperson, has claimed that kids likely need to stay masked. This despite previously stating that children are at far lower risk of contracting, spreading, or suffering serious illness from COVID. Fauci has also said that masks "are not really effective," but he still advocates in their favor.
Fauci said that "before we start talking about pulling back on [restrictions] let's get the dynamic of the virus in the community low enough so that we can feel safe in pulling back on the requirement for children to wear masks."
When the White House was asked about masking for children on Monday, and in response Press Secretary Jen Psaki said "Again, our advice to every school district is to abide by public health guidelines," Psaki said. "It continues to be at this point that the CDC is advising that masks can delay, reduce transmission."
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