Time to stop masking kids

On the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court throwing out the school mask mandate in their state as well as the recent declaration of Democratic Colorado governor Jared Polis that the COVID-19 emergency is over, I have to ask: when is the rest of our nation going to throw out the school mask mandate?

As a parent and teacher, I am truly sick of seeing my child leaving our car each morning with a mask covering his nose and mouth, especially when I know that when he returns back to the car later that day, his mask will be so contorted that he will look more like a duck than a child.  The big gaping openings at either side of the mask are reality.  How is this mask helping him fight contracting COVID?

It isn't.  And yet, somehow, masks have become part of the school dress code.  Let me tell you, having taught in a classroom recently, kids are not capable of wearing masks in a way that keeps them safe.  If you locked them to their chairs and tied their arms together, and basically made them use only their ears to learn, that would be the single way you would have half a prayer of getting masks to do their jobs — if, in fact, they worked the way we continue to be led to believe.  And even then, once those kids are allowed to put their coats back on to go home, they will have foiled all of the earlier preventative measures.  Remember, this is a cooperative effort, and children don't cooperate well with masks.  

The only way to ensure that kids don't get the virus is to completely remove any hope of them learning in school ever again.  That is the only way.  So unless we are all ready to never have our children set foot in school again, we should really face reality and stop agreeing to the terrorization of our children by masking them up like good little soldiers each morning.

I'm tired of having no sensible explanation to give to my kid when he asks why he has to wear a contraption that he loses every two minutes.  It makes me angry to know that none of this is justifiable, yet we continue to allow it because our leaders have no courage, less a few, beginning with those in Pennsylvania and Colorado, it seems.  

I have no problem with parents making their own choices when it comes to masking their kids.  I assure you that if children who contracted COVID left school and never returned again in droves and masks proved to be one hundred percent effective, I too would strap a mask to my kid's face.  Several.  Knowing me, my kid wouldn't be attending school the day that showed itself to be true.  But that's not happening.  Most kids contract COVID, leave, then return in ten or so days without any issue.  

Frankly, I am eager to have a Supreme Court judge do what other Supreme Court judges are doing in other circumstances.  I want one to step up and lift the mask mandate nationwide.  It is unconstitutional and just plain ridiculous, given that health and safety are the driving force behind it.  The proof is on the side of history and science, and neither speaks to the logical continuation of masking kids for eight hours straight a day.  The real health risk — mental, emotional, and physical — runs from forced acceptance in the face of lack of evidence and rationale.  That is about as un-American as you can get.  

Laura J. Wellington is a former teacher, an award-winning author and children's television creator, a TEDx speaker, and the founder of THREAD MB.  She began her career in technology.

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