About Those Face Masks for Kids…

Letter from Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach, to Governor Ralph Northam, dated May 5, 2021:

With the onset of warm weather and summer quickly approaching, we request clarification of your mask protocol for children participating in required school activities.

I heard from multiple constituents regarding yesterday’s high temperature and the dangerous effect it had on our school age children, who are still being required to wear masks when participating in PE and recess. Here in Virginia Beach, temperatures reached a high of 92 degrees, and numerous children suffered heat-related complications and injury as a result of wearing a mask.

Governor, the CDC has already announced that masks are not necessary when outdoors. In addition, with school staff being vaccinated, the risk of COVID-19 transmission to students is minimal. There is no health benefit to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by having our children wear masks outside. If your mask protocol is an attempt to protect our children, I would submit that requiring masks outdoors and inside during PE accomplishes quite the opposite of
protecting—it is, in fact, harmful.

From day one of this terrible pandemic, we have heard from your administration and public health officials that we will “follow the science.” Isn’t the CDC responsible for that guidance? And if so, why are we not adhering to CDC guidelines?

Please clarify the mask protocol in your Executive Order, to prevent further injury and heat-related complications in our school age children. The coming weeks will see increasingly higher temperatures and we must ensure the safety of our students.

Your prompt response to this inquiry is greatly appreciated.