Several Minnesota medical groups are pushing local K-12 schools to require masks when school resumes in the fall. They are asking the school districts to enact masking mandates that follow the latest federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Both groups have recently stated that due to the Delta variant, the “CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.” The CDC updated their guidance on July 27, changing their recommendation for vaccinated individuals on masking indoors.
The Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, and Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics have all said that they “strongly support” the CDC guidelines that specifically state that all those in school buildings should be masked regardless of vaccination status.
The statement written by the groups asks local schools to “adopt requirements consistent with this informed public health guidance.” They “urge all Minnesota school districts and private school leaders to adopt requirements consistent with this informed public health guidance and to encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated.”
This follows a statement from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz saying he will not be mandating masks at this time as it would require him to declare a state of emergency, a move which he says could be “controversial.”
The Education Commissioner, Dr. Heather Mueller, said that they will not be mandating masks at this point in time either. Mueller said that they will be leaving it up to each individual district for now.
Marci Champion, a mother and concerned citizen, told The Minnesota Sun that her children “will not wear masks ever.” She stated that in her opinion, the groups pushing for this mandate need to follow the science. Champion said, “There is no study that says the masks work to block the virus. The particles are too small. The medical associations and groups that are pushing these mask mandates need to follow the real medical science not the government science.”
Another mother, Tara Carlson, told The Sun that she wonders when it will be deemed “medically safe” for children to no longer mask. Carlson said, “At this point I don’t think we know enough information of the dangers of extended mask wearing in young children both on an emotional and physical level to ‘mandate’ it.”
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]