The state Department of Education still wants to mask young children in the autumn.
A press release just out from the Rhode Island Department of Education announcing COVID-related standards for the return to school, takes some steps toward acknowledging science in the fall by eliminating requirements that schools provide an virtual-learning option. Moreover, while recommendations to be cautions whenever possible remain in place (e.g., encouragement toward out-door dining when possible), grade levels with students who are eligible for vaccination will not have distancing requirements.
… 3-feet of spacing for indoor activities in shared spaces will be recommended for non-stable elementary school groups and age groups that are not eligible for full vaccination. …
The State strongly recommends that LEAs establish masking policies requiring all unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask while indoors.
This should prompt a great, big “No!” from Rhode Island parents. Children have been minimally affected by COVID-19 when they catch it, and broad immunity from both vaccinations and prior infection make it much less likely that students will encounter the virus in the first place.
At most, if state bureaucrats want to be cautious, they should be taking a wait-and-see approach. If they want to develop protocols to react quickly to outbreaks, fine, but announcing masks for small children months in advance no matter what is happening and no matter the actual risk to children is a continuation of the heavy-handed and highly damaging overreaction that has characterized much of the past year.
Featured image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.