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Maryland School Official: We're Going to Mask These Kids Forever

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

That headline isn't a direct quote, but it's close. The maniac in question is the CEO of the Prince George's County public schools in Maryland, who wants everyone to know that she is determined to force children to wear face coverings, for hours on end, every day, until COVID doesn't exist anymore. That's not an exaggeration, either. The epitome of anti-child, anti-science, wildly unrealistic "zero COVIDism," right here: 

The leader of a Maryland county school district indicated that students will be required to wear masks on school grounds and in classrooms until "COVID no longer exists." "I have not been thinking about a maskless classroom," Prince George's County Public Schools' CEO Monica Goldson said in Capitol Heights, WTOP reported..."The only off-ramp I want is the one where COVID no longer exists," Goldson said. "I don’t think that that off-ramp will exist. I think this is how our life will be … and we’re showing that we’re adaptable and we can make whatever necessary changes so that we can keep our students learning and safe." Students in the county returned to the classroom for the first time this year on Jan. 18. The school district abruptly decided in December to return to virtual learning for the first two weeks of January due to the omicron variant.

She proudly admits that her "off ramp" is a metric that won't be met, so "this is how our life will be." This is the equivalent of saying, "we're going to mask these kids forever." I wonder if Glenn Youngkin's "Soviet-style police state" is looking increasingly attractive to some Maryland parents these days. Speaking of Youngkin, more and more medical professionals are resisting forced masking, and endorsing his parent-empowering, mask-optional schools policy, based on the science: 


...The overall takeaway from these [CDC] studies—that schools with mask mandates have lower COVID-19 transmission rates than schools without mask mandates—is not justified by the data that have been gathered. In two of these studies, this conclusion is undercut by the fact that background vaccination rates, both of staff and of the surrounding community, were not controlled for or taken into consideration...Comparisons of counties in California that did and did not have mask mandates showed that vaccination rates were highly predictive of hospitalization rates, but mask mandates were not. Neighboring Los Angeles and Orange Counties, which had similar vaccination rates but differing masking requirements, had similar case and hospitalization rates. Likewise, our analyses of data from Maryland show a tight correlation between hospitalizations and immunity rates by county, despite some counties requiring masks in all indoor facilities, some requiring masks only in county buildings, and some not requiring masks at all...

To justify mask requirements in school at this point, health officials should be able to muster solid evidence from randomized trials of masking in children. To date, however, only two randomized trials have measured the impact of masks on COVID transmission. The first was conducted in Denmark in the spring of 2020 and found no significant effect of masks on reducing COVID-19 transmission. The second is a much-covered study conducted in Bangladesh that reported that surgical masks (but not cloth) were modestly effective at reducing rates of symptomatic infection. However, neither of these studies included children...

Other studies—not randomized trials—have looked at the effects of masks in schools, and their results do not support pervasive, endless masking at school. A study from Brown University, analyzing 2020–21 data from schools in New York, Massachusetts, and Florida, found no correlation between student cases and mask mandates, but did see decreased cases associated with teacher vaccination...Another recent analysis of data from Cass County, North Dakota, comparing school districts with and without mask mandates, concluded that mask-optional districts had lower prevalence of COVID-19 cases among students this fall. Analyses of COVID-19 cases in Alachua County, Florida, also suggest no differences in mask-required versus mask-optional schools. Similarly, the U.K. recently reported finding no statistically significant difference in absences traced to COVID-19 between secondary schools with mask mandates and those without mandates...

Recent prospective studies from Greece and Italy found evidence that masking is a barrier to speech recognition, hearing, and communication, and that masks impede children’s ability to decode facial expressions, dampening children’s perceived trustworthiness of faces. Research has also suggested that hearing-impaired children have difficulty discerning individual sounds; opaque masks, of course, prevent lip-reading. Some teachers, parents, and speech pathologists have reported that masks can make learning difficult for some of America’s most vulnerable children, including those with cognitive delays, speech and hearing issues, and autism. Masks may also hinder language and speech development—especially important for students who do not speak English at home. Masks may impede emotion recognition, even in adults, but particularly in children. This fall, when children were asked, many said that prolonged mask wearing is uncomfortable and that they dislike it.


"As with our existing school-mask policies, no real-world data indicate that [even fitted medical] masks decrease transmission in school settings," the authors conclude. "Imposing on millions of children an intervention that provides little discernible benefit, on the grounds that we have not yet gathered solid evidence of its negative effects, violates the most basic tenet of medicine: First, do no harm...Continued mandatory masking of children in schools, especially now that most schoolchildren are eligible for vaccination, fails this test." There is little-to-no established "discernible benefit" to requiring school masking, but as multiple doctors have pointed out, there are certainly discernible harms. One dramatic example out of Florida, where masking has been blessedly limited. Imagine how bad things must be elsewhere: 

Stop this toxic, unscientific madness. Stop using children as guinea pigs in tribal culture wars. These types of images are surreal, given what we know about how little kids are at risk of severe COVID, compared to adults: 

But the adults are vaccinated doesn't work as a rejoinder. Unvaccinated children are safer from COVID than many vaccinated adults (who are also very, very unlikely to die of COVID). I'll leave you with my radio monologue on this general subject. I've had it with the neurotic, ignorant hysterics: 


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