NY Congresswoman: Parents should make decision on K-12 student mask requirements

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FILE – A student wears a face mask while doing work at his desk at the Post Road Elementary School, in White Plains, N.Y., in this Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, file photo. U.S. health officials say the highly contagious delta version of the coronavirus is behind changes to mask guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging. CDC officials said new information about the spread of the delta variant forced them to reverse course. The agency also said teachers and students everywhere should go back to wearing masks in schools. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FIle)

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — Local lawmakers are calling for increased transparency on mask K-12 mask requirements.

In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, 34 members of Congress requested further explanations on guidance that recommends mask wearing for all students in K-12 schools.

Specifically in the letter, members of Congress noted research that claims “child have a very low risk of facing serious complications from COVID-19 and its variants. The group of representatives went on to say that there has been a “troubling lack of data on the potential impacts of mask wearing on social development.”

Further on in the letter sent to Director Walensky, members of congress requested scientific evidence the CDC is using to recommend mask wearing, data indicating school-ages children’s potential in transmitting the virus, the risk of vaccinating school staff contracting a life-threatening case of COVID-19 and developmental and educational impacts on masks in K-12 education.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-NY, called the universal mask wearing recommendations “one-size-fit-all.” She argued that it is impacting younger children.

“The elementary and secondary years are too valuable a time in a child’s development to be impeded by one-size-fits-all mandates that are not justified by the available data,” Rep. Stefanik said in a press release. “In the midst of the CDC’s changing recommendations that appear more rooted in politics than scientific research on the effectiveness of masks in school settings, Governor Hochul still declared a state-wide mandate for New York’s students.”

The full letter led by Rep. Jay Obernotle and signed by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and 32 additional representatives can be found online.

The guidelines mentioned were announced by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on August 5. These recommended universal indoor masking for all students ages two and older.

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