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Schools Reopen with Masks Optional in Many US Classrooms

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Schools across the country are reopening without mask mandates in place. Instead, they made the wearing of face coverings has only been deemed optional.

In Georgia, the local government left the decision of requiring face coverings to the educational institutions themselves. Some areas, such as in Henry County, have been worn out by conflicts over whether a person should wear face coverings or not. In the end, they decided to refrain from imposing such a requirement and only deemed the wearing of face masks “highly recommended.

On Wednesday, a lot of parents from Atlanta’s south suburb had mixed opinions regarding this policy. Some of them decided to disallow their kids from going to school as they’re opposed to it. Others decided to let their kids go to school with face masks.

Schools to Decide Whether They Would Require Face Coverings for Students and Teachers

Given that the delta variant continues to spread at a rapid pace, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics released an advisory for everyone in schools to wear face coverings, particularly in areas with a substantial or high transmission rate.

For a while now, educators have needed to contend with a lot of parents and politicians who are against mask-wearing. Some of these people see these mandates as intrusions on the parent’s authority to decide for their kids’ health.

Although several states plan on requiring face coverings for every student and teacher, regardless of their vaccination status. These include the states of California, Oregon, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Washington State. On the other hand, several states have banned public schools from placing such requirements. These include Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Arizona, South Carolina, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Utah.

On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that parents should make the decision of mask-wearing in educational institutions. He asked rhetorically: “What are the harmful effects of putting a kindergartener in a mask for seven hours? Have they talked about the emotional, the academic, the physiological? Why isn’t CDC studying that?”

Conversely, due to outbreaks in schools that took place at the start of the year, more calls for mask requirements have surfaced.

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, up to January’s peak of infections, children 15 and under saw the lowest infection rates, per CDC data. However, now, infection rates among school-age children have surpassed the infection rates of adults 50 and older.

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