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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Masked preschoolers -- still

A California district that sent a four-year-old boy home for not wearing a mask rescinded the policy a few days later, saying that the Covid risk level had fallen from "high" to "medium." The boy's father videotaped the incident, which included a conversation with the police officer assigned to the school.

But, across the country, as older students start school without masks, the youngest children at the lowest risk are the mostly likely to be wearing masks.

Head Start center operators are asking for more flexibility on federal mask mandates for preschoolers, reports Kara Arundel for K-12 Dive. Federal rules require masks for children two years old and up.

Overzealous Covid rules are hurting students -- and Democrats' political prospects, writes Natalia Mehlman Petrzela in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Toddlers in New York City remained masked until this June; Philadelphia’s Head Start preschoolers will start the upcoming school year in masks. Unvaccinated students in New York City public schools — roughly half the student population — are still excluded from sports, chorus, and band.
Evidence for prolonging these policies is shaky. The World Health Organization recommends against masking children under 5 years old. Emerging data on extended closures suggest their correlation with academic and social-emotional struggles at all ages.

At New York City's New School, where Petrzela teaches history, "students who petitioned to revise the in-class mask mandate, mostly speakers of languages other than English, were condemned as eugenicists," she writes. "Less dramatically, students have told me that because of these ongoing restrictions, they simply find themselves, as I now do, spending less time on campus."

"Covid policy disrupted education with a unique abruptness and intensity," she writes, "and the left has played a key role in that process." If unnecessary restrictions drive students away, that could be "an electoral boon for the GOP and pave the way for measures that delegitimize teachers and undermine education."

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