The Downsides of Masking Young Students Are Real | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

The Downsides of Masking Young Students Are Real

Scientists have an obligation to strive for honesty. And on the question of whether kids should wear masks in schools—particularly preschools and elementary schools—here is what I conclude: The potential educational harms of mandatory-masking policies are much more firmly established, at least at this point, than their possible benefits in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in schools. To justify continued masking of schoolkids—with no end date in sight—we have to prove that masks benefit kids, and at what ages. States and communities that are considering masking policies just to be safe should recognize that being overly cautious has a cost, while the benefits are uncertain.

For most able-bodied adults, masks in public indoor settings pose only minor inconveniences. But children—who even amid the worrisome Delta-variant surge are experiencing serious outcomes from COVID-19 at far lower rates than people in older age groups are—have different needs and vulnerabilities than adults. Early childhood is a crucial period when humans develop cultural, language, and social skills, including the ability to detect emotion on other people’s faces. Social interactions with friends, parents, and caregivers are integral to fostering children’s growth and well-being.

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