The benefits of masks in preventing serious illness or death from COVID-19 among children are infinitesimally small. At the same time they are disruptive to learning and communicating in classrooms. They may be partially effective in shielding adults from COVID, but since when is it ethical to burden children for the benefit of adults?
COVID-19 is less of a threat to children than accidents or the common flu. The survival rate among American children with confirmed cases is approximately 99.99%; remarkably, recent studies find an even higher survival rate.
Yet despite this evidence – and despite the widespread availability of vaccines to teachers and other adults—many schools have yet to reopen full-time, and others are still making students as miserable as possible.
Masks can be breeding grounds for infections from bacteria, mold and fungi, which is why the Centers for Disease Control recommends that a cloth mask should be washed with soap and water “whenever it gets dirty or at least daily.” The CDC also advises washing your hands any time you take off the mask, and then washing your hands again after you put it back on. Pretending that children (or adults, for that matter) are dutifully taking all these precautions is absurd, yet the CDC nonetheless recommends that everyone older than two should wear masks both indoors and outdoors.
Schools have canceled many sports and other extracurricular activities, isolated students in Plexiglas cells, and forced them to wear masks in classrooms and on playgrounds. Social distancing and masks hinder learning while harming children emotionally, socially, and physically, all for no purpose other than providing false comfort to adults who ought to know better.