School masking policies have become one of the most hotly debated post-pandemic issues in our nation today, with many drawing attention to the disparity between strict school masking policies and the relatively low rates of complications that children experience from the COVID-19 virus.
Even as a pediatric dose of the vaccine has been given the stamp of approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency still advocates for children to stay masked up, for now at least.
“We still have about 85 percent of our counties that are in high or substantial community transmission,” CDC head Rochelle Walensky told “NBC Nightly News” last week.
“And so, while I’m encouraged that numbers are coming down, I would say as our children are starting to get vaccinated, just a week into this program, to continue to scale up our vaccinations for these children and to not yet get complacent with our mitigation and prevention strategies that are keeping our children in school.”
When asked if this means that children should keep their masks on at school, Walensky replied, “And I would say masks are for now, but they are not forever.”
However, as The Western Journal recently pointed out, “while the CDC continues to promise the masks aren’t forever but need to be worn for now, the United States is one of the few countries in the Western world that still forces its students to mask up in the classroom.”
Last week, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported that only seven western nations still recommend masking at schools, while 14 do not due to the “low risk” children have of becoming severely ill from the virus.
In the United Kingdom, where lockdown measures have been significantly more strict than many U.S. states, children still returned to school in September without a mask requirement. And while masking has been politically divisive here in the states, both the Conservative and Labour Parties in the U.K. have agreed that masking interferes with the academic environment for schoolchildren.
Yet as the head of the American CDC still recommends that schools require masking, children in the U.K. are 25% less likely to end up being hospitalized from the virus.
Lower vaccination rates would be difficult to blame in this case, as states like West Virginia and Idaho, where masks are not required in schools, have dramatically lower vaccination rates that other states and western countries.
Another reason could be that other countries test more frequently, but ultimately, as The Western Journal concludes, there’s simply no reason that our health officials are recommending masking while others don’t.
“There’s little evidence they serve a public health good, particularly among vaccinated children, and with other alternatives at hand. Psychologically, they’ve done far more harm than good,” they note.
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