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America’s perennial black sheep, California, plans to force kids to keep masking up when school returns in the fall despite the coronavirus pandemic being effectively over, and despite kids being at low risk of contracting the virus even if they’re not vaccinated.
“California will continue to require masks in school settings, state health officials announced Friday, even though federal health authorities released new guidelines saying vaccinated students and teachers no longer need to wear masks inside campus buildings,” the Los Angeles Times confirmed.
In a statement, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly claimed the state is not only keeping with the so-called “science” but also suggested it’s promoting so-called “equity” by “treating all kids the same.”
“Given California’s science-based approach and the fact that the state’s school facilities can’t accommodate physical distancing, we will align with the CDC by implementing multiple layers of mitigation strategies, including continued masking and robust testing capacity,” he said, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full in-person instruction. At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated — treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment,” he added.
The announcement provoked anger, including from David A. Marcus, who is a co-creator of Facebook’s Diem project, the former president of PayPal, the former Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, and a former Coinbase Board of Directors Member.
The guy’s a very high-profile figure, yet even he was disgusted by the focus on so-called “equity.”
This makes me angry. The CDC has clear guidance that vaccinated teachers and kids do *not* need to wear a mask this fall when returning to school. But California decides everyone does, because “equity” matters more than science? Insanity.https://t.co/zSYRWSvr8o
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) July 10, 2021
The announcement also caught the attention of legendary comedian and actor Rob Schneider, who in recent years has had no fear about boldly touting his conservative bona fides to the world.
Despite what experts (finally admit) California is diverging from the CDC and are going to make Children, who are at or near zero risk, will have to WEAR MASKS AGAIN NEXT SCHOOL YEAR!
But maybe there’s hope…
Recall Gov Gavin Newsom!#RecallGavin2020 https://t.co/lnK75pPL9y
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) July 10, 2021
The anger was also shared by regular Americans, some of them quite “liberal.”
Nope. This is stupid. And I’m a huge liberal and generally in favor of caution but given the current numbers this is ridiculous.
— Mark Chenard (@mchenard129) July 10, 2021
Ridiculous. My 16 year old fully vaccinated student should be allowed to be mask free as well as his 18 year old fully vaccinated sister and his fully vaccinated parents that are teachers….
— Jamie King (@JKingx4) July 10, 2021
Many parents are beyond fed up ! This is not necessary, and just further divides parents, teachers, puts public schools against private…
— Sophie R (@KoshkaRoo) July 10, 2021
We’re well past the left with “follow the science” and deep into “follow the state”
— kay dpea (@kaydpea) July 10, 2021
— theHypocrisyContinues (@PS85thoughts) July 9, 2021
It’s funny how our gov’t can implore us to listen to the CDC one minute and totally disregard their recs the next… pic.twitter.com/lu4zTEaNIJ
— AliceinBlunderland (@SunnyD1225) July 9, 2021
The Chronicle notes that this “isn’t the first time the state hasn’t aligned directly with the federal government. When the CDC relaxed its masking guidelines in May to allow vaccinated individuals to generally skip masking in most situations, the Golden State waited a month to adopt the guidelines.”
In fairness to California, it’s not the only place — though it does appear to be the only state for the time being — forcing children to keep wearing masks.
“In Detroit’s public schools, everyone will be required to wear a mask unless everyone in the classroom has been vaccinated. Philadelphia will require all public school students and staff to wear masks inside buildings, even if they have been vaccinated,” according to Los Angeles news station KTTV.
The only potential good news for Californians is that it won’t be forcing schoolchildren to get vaccinated — for now.
“There is currently no vaccine authorized for emergency use in children under the age of 12, and it is unclear how soon that will change. Even after the Food and Drug Administration authorizes one or more COVID-19 vaccines for younger children, it could take several more months — or even years — for the vaccines to receive full approval in this age group,” the Times notes.
However, it also warns that “[o]nce immunizations receive full federal approval, they could become mandatory for nearly all students.”
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