By Larry Sand
After being the driving force behind school shutdowns, the teachers union in L.A. is now leading the drive to keep children masked.
State officials announced last week that as of March 12, California will no longer require school children to wear masks, and thankfully most California school districts are going along with the decision. Also, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it would “shift to strongly recommending indoor masking requirements” at schools and child care centers, but would no longer require indoor masking as of March 12.
Shortly after the announcements, new Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent Alberto Carvalho said that he “recognizes the updated health guidance” and added that he is “committed to upholding our science-driven approach.” But he followed by saying, “We respect the voices of all stakeholders, and as such, we will remain engaged with our labor partners, employees and families as we maintain and seek practices that are protective, responsive and in the best interest of our school communities.”
Families, however, have not been consulted by the school district, so the “engaged” are labor partners and employees, both of which are unionized. And as the tail that wags the LAUSD dog, the United Teachers of Los Angeles is insisting on extending the mask ritual, hence face coverings will be required for half a million or so kids for an indeterminate period. (The school district has an agreement with UTLA that masking will be imposed through June, though the two sides agreed they would “meet and bargain over potential changes to this requirement at the request of either party.”) Therefore, children in L.A. can now go to athletic events, the movies, and the supermarket sans mask, but that freedom ends at the schoolhouse door. It’s important to stress that no one is suggesting banning masks in school, but rather simply dropping the mandate, which never should have existed in the first place. There is a load of evidence that shows masks don’t help curtail the spread of the disease, and, in fact, can be quite detrimental to children’s development.
For example, after looking at 150 studies on masking, the Brownstone Institute concludes that “surgical and cloth masks, used as they currently are being used (without other forms of PPE protection), have no impact on controlling the transmission of Covid-19 virus. The body of evidence indicates that face masks are largely ineffective.”
Dr. Marty Makary, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Dr. H. Cody Meissner chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Tufts Children’s Hospital point out that, “covering a child’s face mutes these nonverbal forms of communication and can result in robotic and emotionless interactions, anxiety and depression. Seeing people speak is a building block of phonetic development. It is especially important for children with disabilities such as hearing impairment.”
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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal