President Joe Biden is desperate to change the subject. Amid his border crisis, the stall of the economic recovery he inherited, and his administration’s lethal and disorderly rout in Afghanistan, he is trying to pick a domestic political fight he thinks he can win.
This is the only sensible explanation for why Biden’s Department of Education has opened a civil rights investigation into the school masking policies of five Republican states — Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.
The Biden administration claims that by giving parents the option of sending their children to school without masks, these states are violating the civil rights of students with disabilities that make them more susceptible to COVID-19.
No mention was made of any investigations into Democratic states allowing school districts to ban students with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks from attending school . The civil rights of those students don’t fit Biden’s preferred political narrative, so they don’t count.
The utility of masks, and especially the utility of requiring younger children to wear masks, is not at all settled by science. Michael Osterholm, Biden’s former COVID adviser, says that cloth masks, worn by an overwhelming majority of mask-wearers generally, do not prevent the spread of COVID-19 at all if you expect to be in a room with other people for 20 minutes or more.
Countries around the world with much better COVID results than the United States, including almost all of Europe, allow children under 12 to attend school without masks. While Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone, including young children, wear masks at all times indoors, Europe’s Centre for Disease Prevention and Control takes the opposite approach.
The ECDC guidance notes that children younger than 12 “may have a lower tolerance to wearing masks for extended periods of time, and may fail to use the masks properly.” The agency concludes that the “use of face masks is recommended for teachers” but “not recommended for students.”
While there is a growing body of science showing that the use of N95 masks (not the cloth masks worn by most people) by adults does reduce the spread of COVID-19, there is no science supporting Biden’s CDC position on masks for children under 12. It is pure politics.
It is not a coincidence that as Biden’s presidential approval rating has tanked on every issue other than the pandemic, Biden is now trying to pick a fight with Republican governors over COVID.
Finding the right balance between COVID-19 prevention measures and a successful learning environment is tough. These are difficult decisions that don’t lend themselves to one-size-fits-all policies dictated by Washington, especially when those policies are being driven by politics and not science.
Biden should drop these political witch hunts against Republican states and get back to rescuing the Americans he left behind in Afghanistan.
Author : Washington Examiner
Source : Washington Examiner : Biden plays politics with masks in schools