Child Masking – Where is the Offramp?

Children wearing gas masks

by James C. Sherlock

I have two important questions for my friends who insist on mandates for masks for children in schools.

Is the child mask mandate permanent? If not, where is the offramp? 

I will cede for purposes of this inquiry that you are sincere in your concern for the vulnerability to COVID of teachers and children in schools and of the kids’ parents and grandparents when the little devils get home.

So, I am about to concede a lot more in an attempt to get your answers.

I will hope, and for this question concede, that you have considered that the CDC recommends:

When determining if children and people with certain disabilities should wear a mask, assess their ability to:

  • Wear a mask correctly
  • Avoid frequent touching of the mask and their face
  • Limit sucking, drooling, or having excess saliva on the mask
  • Remove the mask without assistance

I will concede that you think:

  • that such an assessment is the responsibility of school boards, not parents; and
  • that school boards can make those assessments for hundreds or thousands of children in one meeting. “Dean” Braband made that assessment for the 188,887 students in Fairfax County Public Schools. On Friday. I expect from Braband tomorrow an update to his new suspension policy that will include immediate ouster for the touching of the mask and face, sucking, drooling and saliva outrages.

I will therefore hope, and again concede, that you and Dean Braband have done a tradeoff analysis between the costs (of all sorts) and the value of masking for children and have come down on the side of a masking mandate. Regardless of the assessments of the parents.

So, here we are. I have conceded your every hope and fear. Dissent from 6-year- olds and their parents will not be tolerated. Immediate out-of-school suspensions for all of them. Feel better?

Back to the questions. Is the mandate permanent? If not, where do you see the offramp?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says, in support of its stance on school masking:

Universal masking will also protect students and staff from other respiratory illnesses that could keep kids out of school.

I find that fairly ominous. I will concede that you don’t.

Perhaps then you will consider this quote this week from Dr. Anthony Fauci about learning to “live” with COVID.

“If we have those things in place – vaccine testing, masks, therapy – we could keep it at that low level,” he said.

The flu. Then, I am sure you have read the CDC statement about the flu:

Flu illness is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu; thousands of children are hospitalized, and some children die from flu. Children commonly need medical care because of flu, especially children younger than 5 years old.

(Bolding by author)

Then there are CDC’s key facts about the flu. You know them well:

(A 2018) CDC study found that children are most likely to get sick from flu and that people 65 and older are least likely to get sick from influenza. Median incidence values (or attack rate) by age group were 9.3% for children 0-17 years, 8.8% for adults 18-64 years, and 3.9% for adults 65 years and older. This means that children younger than 18 are more than twice as likely to develop a symptomatic flu infection than adults 65 and older.

Period of Contagiousness
You may be able to spread flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

People with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins.

Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

(Bolding by author)

Yet the CDC’s recommendations for flu preventive measures do not mention the word “mask” or “school.” (As Herbert Morrison wrote in 1937 reporting his reaction to the Hindenburg fire, “Oh, the humanity!”)

Uncharted waters. So, we are in uncharted waters here relative to masking for children in that:

  • masks are not required for flu that “especially” affects children and their characteristically prolonged period of spread; but
  • are required for COVID, which does not target children.

I take back my initial concession. That pretty much cements the fact that the COVID mask mandate is not about children. It is about adults. It is about you.

You will concede (finally your turn) that the federal government — including CDC and Fauci’s principality — under President Biden is unlikely to exclude child masking from its school recommendations.

You will go ballistic if it does. Fierce marches and signs. Whatever the approved new term is for looting. Teacher strikes. Scathing Washington Post and New York Times editorials will bemoan any step back by the ascendant regulatory state.

So, I am asking you. You clearly consider it to be your call.

Is the child mask mandate permanent? If not, where is the offramp?