A slew of schools across the United States are reinstating mandatory mask-wearing amid a surge in positive Covid tests, despite evidence they impair children’s learning.
Kinterbish High School in Alabama has asked all students, staff and visitors to start wearing face masks in classrooms and hallways “due to the slow increase in Covid cases in the area” since late last month.
The Talladega City School District in Alabama, which serves more than 1,700 students, also urged children and staff to wear masks, but stressed that they are “encouraged but not required.”
Meanwhile, a Maryland elementary school sparked outrage this week after saying students must wear tight-fitting N95 masks for 10 days, despite only a handful of schoolchildren testing positive for Covid.
New York health officials are also providing free masks to schools in the state in response to rising Covid rates and absences, while face coverings are strongly encouraged in some Los Angeles classrooms.
The new mask orders are a throwback to the dark days of the pandemic and come despite mounting evidence that masks were not only ineffective in preventing the spread of the virus, but also hindered learning, social interactions and the natural immunity of children. other infections.
Last month, Kinterbish High School in Alabama asked all students, staff and visitors to start wearing face masks on its grounds “due to the slow increase in Covid cases in the area.”
Studies suggest that N95 masks can expose people to toxic chemicals. Pictured: California Governor Gavin Newsom joins masked schoolchildren in a classroom in August 2021.
Kinterbish High School, in Cuba, Alabama, has about 120 students ages five to 14, while talladega The City Schools district has 1,792 students between the ages of 4 and 18.
New York State will also send masks and Covid tests to school districts that need them.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that an outreach survey will be sent to districts across the state asking if they need supplies, which will then be sent out.
Case rates are slowly rising in the United States. The test positivity rate (the proportion of swabs that come back positive) has skyrocketed from 6.7 percent in the week ending July 15 to 13.5 percent on August 19, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Los Angeles schools, which previously had some of the strictest Covid measures in the country, including mask mandates, 10-day sick quarantines and weekly Covid tests, have also opted for an optional mask policy. .
But the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has more than 429,000 children in kindergarten through 12th grade, has taken an even more relaxed approach to the disease.
Los Angeles Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho urged students to attend school even if sick to combat high absenteeism rates.
He told the LA Times: “We’re back to a point — based on high levels of vaccination, available therapies and children’s greater resilience than most — where if a child is mildly ill (no fever , just maybe with snorts) okay.” for them to go to school.
“There are ways to mitigate this: some good medication, a mask, and vigilance.”
Last month, a Kentucky school district canceled classes less than two weeks after reopening after large numbers of students were affected by a “triple epidemic” of flu, Covid and strep throat outbreaks, meaning nearly a one-fifth took sick leave.
Meanwhile, there is growing concern that the harmful policies of Covid could return to American life.
There is little evidence that masks actually reduce infection rates, and growing research shows that the mandates hinder children’s social development and education.
Masks were blamed for the rise in cases of the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and strep A bacterial infection in children last year because wearing face coverings and avoiding exposure to healthy germs prevented them from developing the natural immunity they would otherwise way they would have obtained.
The Talladega City School District in Alabama urged students to wear masks, but stressed that it is “recommended but not required” (file photo)
In Maryland, Rosemary Hills Elementary School Principal Rebecca Irwin Kennedy formalized the mask mandate in a letter sent to parents Tuesday.
He explained that he took the measure after “three or more people” contracted the virus in the last ten days.
It required students to wear thick N95 masks to “keep our school environment as safe as possible,” despite the fact that a recent study found that the mask can expose wearers to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals.
And while even embattled medical guru Dr. Anthony Fauci admits that evidence is lacking that masks stop the spread of Covid, Kennedy told parents that N95s will only be optional after 10 days.
The letter sparked widespread fury among those who see the decision as a slippery road back to Covid lockdowns, with Donald Trump Jr posting on X: ‘NO COMPLY!!!’
As Covid Cases Rise in the USpublic health officials say most people experience mild symptoms comparable to those of a cold or flu.
Children are just as likely as adults to get Covid, but their risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus is much lower.
The CDC considers the hospitalization rate for Covid patients to be low and the weekly death rate to be near an all-time low. The vast majority of people who are hospitalized or die from Covid are over the age of 65.
Experts have insisted that the recent surge in Covid cases is not worth overreacting after the United States recorded its first rise in hospitalizations due to the virus this year.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 8,000 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country in the last week of August, up 12 percent from the previous seven days and the first weekly increase. since december.
Despite the increase, rates remain at record lows. By comparison, there were 150,000 Covid admissions a week at the height of the pandemic in January 2021, and hospitalizations hit 44,000 a week earlier this year.
Experts attribute the rise to the natural decline in immunity, which comes about six months after the previous wave of infections.
The decision to return to wearing masks in Maryland also comes despite experts warning that the highly contagious virus is likely to be a long-lasting fixture of daily life, similar to the common cold.
“One thing Americans need to understand: SARS-CoV-2 and its variants will never go away,” Dr. Brett Osborn, a board-certified neurosurgeon in West Palm Beach, Florida, told Fox News Digital.
“It’s here to stay because its mutation rate is high, just like the flu.”