'Unmask our children': Parents demand end to school mask mandates

"Children – and their parents – have shouldered an outsize burden long enough."

Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio

A campaign called "Urgency of Normal" seeks to bring "pre-pandemic norms" back to the public school system. While the immediate thought that comes to mind is getting rid of mask mandates in schools, the Change.org petition instead focuses on a general and consistent return within the education system.

"Children – and their parents – have shouldered an outsize burden long enough. Restoring normal childhood is a moral imperative, based on the balance of today’s evidence," the petition's description reads. "We echo the call of the Urgency of Normal and urge our elected officials to adopt the recommendations made by the the group, using the information provided in their toolkit for parents, students, mentors, teachers and administrators," it concludes.

"Unmask our children. A nation is judged on how it treats its children and the children are NOT okay due to these mask and vax mandates by tyrants," one of the signatories wrote. "Please unmask the children and return to normal. These last 2 years have been depressing," another wrote as a reason for signing.

As the immediate threat of COVID-19 wears off, longstanding aspects like the psychological harm to mental health come to the forefront. It's the center point of an article from Pew Charitable Trusts that says suicide attempts among adolescents jumped as much as 31 percent in 2020.

Speech impediments are another example of the strife. An emerging trend shows the challenges speech therapists have in overcoming the difficulties their clients have in learning how to talk. It's a source of parental frustration.

A mom from Boston has expressed that it's been tough for her son to wear a mask in the classroom because he has a speech impediment.

It ultimately comes down to the states. Places like New Jersey and Connecticut have rescinded mask mandates for schools when their governors are giving the orders. This ABC News round-up list of various states rescinding their masks helps to emphasize the separation of powers between their various governments and the school districts therein. It's a dilemma that critics are becoming self-aware of.

The above clip combines a speech by New York Governor Kathy Hochul with the reactions from school children about not having to wear masks anymore.

The former of which is Hochul stipulating that masks would still be required in schools despite lifting the mandate indoors for businesses as of Thursday, a decision that demonstrates the disparity on a state-by-state level when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions.

The latter Las Vegas clip comes as Nevada's Governor Steve Sisolak announced an immediate blanket removal of all mask mandate restrictions for indoor settings across the board. When it came to school systems in particular, Sisolak said that districts can make up their own mind.

Beyond the immediate impact to students, COVID-19 measures shifted the landscape of how teachers operate and how superintendents assess the viability of a potential job position.


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