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It's time to unmask our kids

"Study after study... have indicated that masks actually don't play any role in stopping the spread of COVID in schools and they impair many different learning activities."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

In the fresh panic over the latest variant of COVID-19, American children are again being made to pay the price of adult fears. Vaccine and testing requirements are being implemented in many part of the country, and numbers of childhood COVID-10 cases are being bandied about to ignite fresh fears about the virus that has essentially spared the world's children. Meanwhile, children are still fully masked in schools, with New York kids masked ages two and up.

A speech therapist said that there has been a huge increase in her speech therapy practice, with a massive jump in referrals for babies and toddlers as opposed to before the pandemic. Now, 20 percent of her speech patients are babies and toddlers as opposed to just 5 percent prior to the pandemic. The therapist said it's essential that kids see adults' teeth and mouths when learning how to speak.

One mom in New York City decided that she was sick of sending her kids off to school with useless face masks that did nothing other than signal their complicity to meaningless regulations that did not even achieve the stated goal: curbing COVID-19 contagion.

She launched a petition to compel the New York City Department of Education to rethink their position on enforced masking. Natalya Murakhver launched a petition to "Make masks optional in all New York schools." The petition said that a "masks-optional approach" would allow students "the ability to see emotions, hear language, and experience connection in an unrestricted learning environment."

In New York, per emergency issuance of the governor, children as young as 2 years old are forcefully masked in schools, and in many public places.

Murakhver teamed up with other parents to launch a national movement to ease the restrictions on children. The Coalition of Parent Advocate Groups issued a call to keep schools open, and to not believe the hype on Omicron.

"Throughout this pandemic children have been subjected to the harshest restrictions," Open Schools writes, "despite being the lowest-risk demographic. For over 21 months children have been forced to pay the greatest price, while adults have largely gone on with their lives and recreational activities. This has led the Surgeon General to declare a mental health crisis among American children for the first time in U.S. history."

"Study after study over the past year," Murakhver told The Post Millennial, "both here in the United States and in Europe, have indicated that masks actually don't play any role in stopping the spread of COVID in schools and they impair many different learning activities, speech, personal communication."

"Masks," she said, "hamper a teacher's ability to reach students and make it difficult for teacher and students to socialize effectively with themselves or with each other."

"Families have reached out to me and have said that masks have pretty much destroyed their lives," she said, and this is particularly true for disabled learners.

"They no longer can read lips so now they rely on hearing people being kind enough to pull their masks down," she said. Murakhver has been advocating since June to have masks pulled from schools, and says that there was evidence even then that "there were deleterious effects on kids from masks and that COVID really poses almost no threat to children at all."

And in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul has mandated masks state-wide, even for children as young as 2 years old. When the New York Supreme Court challenged her mandate and found it unconstitutional, she simply launched an appeal against the ruling and demanded a stay of her authoritarian order. An appellate court stayed the mandate.

"She went as far as to mandate masks for two year olds, which is unlike any other country in the world. The World Health Organization recommends that kids not be masked if they are under six. And for kids over six that masks would be used as a precision tool, not a blunt instrument and certainly never outdoors and certainly never during physical activity. But our kids are mercilessly masked in New York City from the age of two all day, without mask breaks, outside during exercise, during extracurriculars on transit, sometimes like 12 to 14 hours a day," Murakhver said.

And the real trouble, she said, is that "there are no off ramps. There are no end dates. The petition was to allow parents to have the option of sending their kids in unmasked." To top it off, the masks commonly in use, either flimsy surgical masks or cloth masks, both of which are usually loose fitting, are not found to be effective.

Parents have done everything they were told to do, and still, there's no way out of this permanent masking for kids.

The toll COVID-19 has taken on American children is too often overlooked. Officials and supposed experts push restrictions and mandates on our kids, a population that cannot fight back and is required to do what they are told, at home, in public, and in school.

Kids are the ones who are the least at risk from COVID-19, yet the rules for kids are far more strict than they are on adults. When the pandemic first hit, schools shut down, sending kids home to learn remotely via computer screen. This went on in varying degrees for one-and-a-half years in New York City, and when kids were in school, they were masked, socially distanced, deprived of regular lunch periods and physical education, where they would come into too close contact for the comfort of school administrators and teachers unions.

Once vaccines emerged, teachers were required to get vaccinated, and now that vaccines are available for kids, many students have undergone the jab, and many students are protected against the most severe consequences of the virus. But the kids are still fully masked.

Parents know that these masks are essentially useless. Kids barely wear them properly, they are ill-fitting, and kids fidget with them all day. Additionally, wearing the same mask for more than  six hours per day results in wet masks, which the CDC has said do not protect against COVID-19.

CNN's health expert Dr. Leana Wen, who has advocated for more and more mandates and restrictions for Americans, has said outright that cloth masks and ill-fitting surgical masks do nothing to protect against COVID-19. So why are the kids still forced to mask up?

Masks are uncomfortable, useless, and a hinderance to learning, yet they have become the standard uniform for many American kids, specifically those in big, blue cities that have foisted their fears onto their children.

We know healthy kids are at extremely low risk for any of the dangerous COVID-19 complications. We know the numbers of kids in hospitals due to COVID-19 have been drastically and misleadingly inflated. We know that the masks kids wear, and how they wear them, are ineffective. And we know that kids are experiencing extreme mental health problems, learning loss, and academic stunting due to masks, remote learning, and restrictions. It's time to stop making kids pay the price of adult fears. Masking our kids needs to stop.

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