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White House doubles down on masks for children despite states overturning mandates

"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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Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
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After the state of New Jersey moved to eliminate masking requirements for children in public schools, the White House was asked on Monday during a press briefing if the Biden administration supported the removal of masks for kids. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that they do not.

"We've got announcements in Delaware and New Jersey the governors are going to be ending mass mandates coming up pretty soon. What is the White House view on these kinds of announcements, given that in Virginia Governor Youngkin faced a lot of pushback from Democrats for making similar changes to the mask policy?" Psaki was asked.

"They weren't actually that similar," Psaki said, "because what happened here in New Jersey and a couple of other states you mentioned is that they pulled back the requirement. They didn't make it more difficult for schools, school administrators, local officials to keep requirements that they made a determination to keep their school safe."

Psaki was further asked about masking and CDC guidelines pertaining to masking.

"The CDC is still recommending universal masking schools," a reporter said.

"That's correct," Psaki said. "And that still remains our recommendation."

"Are you fine with the New Jersey governor's decision?"

"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. There are also a number of other mitigation measures that we've placed but that continues to be CDC guidance. It's always been up to local school districts to determine how they implement."

"What does it say then that a governor like Phil Murphy," the reporter followed-up, "who has been so closely aligned with the policies of this administration, would get ahead of the medical experts and say, 'Never mind what they say school districts, you decide.'"

"Well, it's always been up to school districts. That's always been our point of view and always been our policy from here," Psaki said. "And our policy and federal government is to continue to advise everybody to abide by public health guidelines."

Parents have been advocating across the country for schools to dispense with mask mandates, as it makes learning to read and sound hard words particularly harder, as well as making it difficult for children to establish relationships. Mental health difficulties have been cited by parents and educators alike, and petitions to demand reversal of mask mandates for kids have been circulating. Parents who oppose masking have been smeared and slandered in media.

"Do you think it is a signal that perhaps the public believes it's time for a change in the federal guidelines the CDC's got?" Psaki was asked.

"We certainly understand and I've seen in polling that the public is tired of COVID," Psaki said. "We understand that. So are we, and there has been some good signs recently where there has been a decrease in hospitalizations around the country. And again, we're in constant touch about what it looks like moving forward, but our responsibility as the federal government is to rely on the data and the science that is being analyzed by our public health experts. And we'll continue to rely on that for what recommendations we're making."

The CDC initially said that people who are vaccinated would not have to wear masks. They then reversed that guidance and said people should wear them regardless.

New York's unelected Governor Kathy Hochul has extended mask mandates, despite a court ruling that they are unconstitutional. She demanded a stay of her unconstitutional orders from an appellate court, and that stay was granted.

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