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School districts have re-implemented mandates for children for the 2022-2023 academic year, against the wishes of many parents across the U.S., who have been fighting it tooth and nail at board of education meetings.
Most recently, a 4-year-old boy in San Francisco, California was kicked out of school for not wearing a mask, Fox News Digital reported Friday.
The dad's attorney, Tracy Henderson, sent a cease and desist letter to the principal in the Mountain View Whisman School District which alleged bullying, discrimination and harassment over the mask requirement.
“He basically looked like a PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) victim,” the dad, who did not give his full name, told Fox News Digital about his son. “He was inconsolable for about two hours.”
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Mountain View Whisman School District has since rescinded its mask mandate.
In another example, a Philadelphia mom, Suzanne Shaheen, who said her son has asthma, threatened to sue her school over the restrictions.
“With a mask, no teacher would be able to see that he is having a flare-up, and the school district is basically isolating any kid who is not willing to wear a mask,” she told Fox & Friends First.
All pre-kindergarten students in Philadelphia are required to wear masks all year while older age groups are required to wear masks for the first 10 days.
In response to the mandate, the Philadelphia school board got an “earful” from parents over the masking policy, according to a local PBS outlet. A parent named Robert Ziegler said it was “out of touch with the current reality,”
The district attributed another policy that met pushback to a typo in the guidelines. It originally appeared to say students with COVID-19 symptoms who have had a negative test must remain at home “until they were symptom-free and diagnosed with something other than COVID,” the local PBS outlet said.
Parents in Fairfax County, Pennsylvania, are “sounding off” against the district's policy that suggested their children would have to be masked if the community level of COVID reached a high level, Fox News Digital reported.
Milwaukee also announced in July that it will require masks when community level is high, per the Centers for Disease and Control; it was at a medium level as of Sunday.
“The district will continue to require masks to be worn at all schools, sites, and activities,” the policy said.
In Wisconsin, parents have organized against at least 17 school boards in recall efforts relating to the way the members handled COVID-19, according to United Press International.
In one of those districts where a recall effort took place, Kenosha, parents protested the mask mandates last year by threatening to keep their kids home on the date where enrollment is counted – which would determine the district's funding, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
In California, the Los Angeles County canceled plans to reimpose a mask mandate after one of its counties, Beverly Hills, voted unanimously not to obey it if it were to become adopted.
“I believe masking mandates are polarizing and are unenforceable,” Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse said. “I’ve heard loud and clear from parents and caregivers who are witnessing the social emotional toll our county’s children are shouldering. Their anxiety and depression are palpable.”
Parents in another California district, San Diego Unified, criticized their district's “audacity” to re-implement a mask mandate.
“It is completely atrocious,” said Melissa Grace, a mom of a 13-year-old and the founder of San Diego Rise Up, on “Fox & Friends” in July.
“The audacity of these officials to be using our children as shields is completely unacceptable,” Grace added.
A Johns Hopkins and Harvard-trained computational epidemiologist, John Ayers, also panned the policy implemented during summer school in the San Diego Union Tribune, stating that “As designed, San Diego Unified’s masking policy, which includes reusable cloth masks and surgical masks, will likely not reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
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The epidemiologist cited “a trial in Denmark called DANMASK [which] showed the recommendation to wear surgical masks did not reduce infections” and another from Bangladesh which “showed reusable cloth masks did not reduce infections.”
Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, sees opposition to masking differently, calling it “inexplicable.”
“When you tell people they need to mask in an indoor congregate setting when you're in a zone that has a high dynamic of infection — that is looked upon by a lot of people, not everybody, as an encroachment on your freedom,” Fauci said.
Washington, D.C., is the only area in the country that is requiring students over the age of 12, from both private and public/charter schools, to be vaccinated, according to Vox.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older and boosters for everyone 5 years and older.
Fox News Digital reported that the District of Columbia's vaccine mandate “could hit Black kids the hardest.”
“Our goal is that no child should miss a single day of school,” said the chief of D.C.'s Health Care Access Bureau.
D.C. will also require its students to test negative before returning to school.
Republican lawmakers, Reps. James Comer (R-KY), Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) called the measures “draconian” and said, “the D.C. Council’s decision raises serious questions about why a local government would decline to follow the science and instead choose to place an entire population of youth at further risk of academic decline.”
The CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, outlined previously that COVID-19 vaccines for kids was the pathway for in-person learning.
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“One of the first things I said as vaccinations were rolling out with some controversy was that we did have a capacity to get our kids back to school, even if our teachers, even if everybody wasn't vaccinated. So, this was always part of our vision to be able to get back to school and to get safely back to school,” she said.
And last year, Dr. Fauci said he supported vaccine mandates for students.
“I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea,” he said. “We’ve done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis. So this would not be something new requiring vaccinations for children to come to school.”
Most governments have shied away from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for its students.
California and Louisiana announced last year that it would require all schoolchildren to be vaccinated. California delayed the mandate to 2023, and provided exemptions for medical and religious reasons. Louisiana also similarly walked back.
Other communities are relaxing COVID-19 restrictions.
Chicago now has mask-optional policies for the upcoming year.
The CEO of Chicago Public Schools said, “CPS strives to keep school communities safe while maximizing in-person learning, which we know is critical to our students’ learning and development.”
The policies are also fraught between school board members. For example, the board of education at Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisiana, three of the seven board members wanted to end the mask mandate, according to Courier Journal.
The attorney general of Kentucky sent a letter to the district asking them to reconsider the policy.
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“While my Office continues to review whether JCPS has the authority to impose such health policies, I write to urge the Board to terminate its mask mandate immediately. The mandate harms children, unduly burdens teachers, and is bad public policy,” AG Daniel Cameron said.
The board maintained a decision to keep makes on kids at a 3-4 vote.
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