The coronavirus delta threatens to disrupt normal instruction for the third consecutive school year. Some states indicated that they would likely follow the federal government's direction and use masks. Others will let parents make the final decision.
This controversy is happening at a time when many Americans feel helpless about pandemic restrictions. Others fear that their children may be at risk if they don't take the virus seriously. Schools that require masks are now illegal in a few Republican-led states.
Anti-mask rallies in Connecticut have taken place outside Gov. Anti-mask rallies have taken place outside Gov. Ned Lamont’s Hartford official residence. Lawn signs and bumper stickers demand that he "unmask our children."
On Tuesday, the CDC recommended that all teachers, staff, and students at schools across the country wear indoor masks, regardless of their vaccination status. Even for those who have been vaccinated, there is a risk of spreading the highly contagious delta variant.
Alima Bryant (33), a mother of four, organizes anti-mask parents at Branford, Connecticut. Although she denies being a conspiracy theorists, she believes scientists have exaggerated the dangers of COVID-19 for children. She stated that she would rather her children not be exposed to masks than to the virus.
She said, "Especially with small children, I can see how often they touch dirty things and then touch the mask." "Also in kindergarten, you need to learn social cues and it's important that you don't wear a mask.
Ryan Zuimmerman of Lenexa in Kansas is one such parent. He fears that this will only prolong the pandemic.
Five districts in Johnson County, Kansas (the state's largest county), recommend masks but not require them. Undecided is the sixth district.
Zimmerman stated that masks should be optional and not mandatory at a meeting of country commissioners.
This is not about your rights or comfort, control, obedience or control. It's not about child abuse or conspiracy. He said, "It is about doing the right thing for others."
"I ask you the following: What if it was your child who was at high risk? Would you send that child you have spent your entire life protecting to school in this setting?"
A second public meeting in Broward County, Florida was postponed after nearly two dozen mask-wearing opponents waged screaming matches against school board members. They also burned masks outside.
The discussion was resuming Wednesday with 10 public speakers. All but one spoke out against masks and claimed that their rights were being violated.
Vivian Hug, a Navy veteran brought her twins along to address board members. She said she was tired "fearmongering" and had given up "freedoms for safety."
"Please stop this madness. She said, "You have already done damage these children having to wear masks," before she put her daughter up on the microphone. The little girl complained that the masks made it difficult for her to breathe and gave her headaches.
Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay said that masks are not dangerous for children. According to her, the science shows that face covers have stopped the spread of COVID-19 among schools.
She stated that masks were a crucial component if she wanted to see children in school this fall and get as many as possible into school.
There is also an effort to get more older children vaccinated, despite all the controversy. President Joe Biden asked schools to host vaccination clinics for children 12 years and older. States are now beginning to consider whether they should mandate school employees be vaccinated, or have them tested for coronavirus regularly.
Dr. Joseph Kanter (the state health officer for the Louisiana Department of Health) said, "That seems very reasonable to me." You achieve your goal of creating a safe environment. There is still some freedom. Given the context, most people will see that it makes sense to get vaccinated.
The country's push to immunize children differs. Half of 12- to 17-year-olds in Estonia's second-largest city of Tartu have received their first vaccine shot, and local health officials are working to push the number to 70% before the school year begins. France and Denmark are encouraging children to get vaccinated, but the United Kingdom and Sweden have not yet started mass vaccinations.
The Pfizer shot, currently the only U.S. approved vaccine for children aged 12 and over, is now available. Moderna hopes that the Food and Drug Administration will soon rule on the application for children of the same age.
Moderna stated Monday that it expected to have sufficient data by the end of this year or early in 2022 to be able to apply for FDA approval for children younger than 5 years old. Pfizer stated that it plans to apply for FDA authorization in September for children aged 5-11 years old.
Bryant is one of those parents who said she would not allow her children to be vaccinated until she learned more about side effects. Bryant stated that she has heard of people who had severe reactions to the vaccine and those who feel it has disrupted their periods.
Kanter encourages all children to be vaccinated. Kanter said that the argument that children rarely become severely ill due to COVID-19 has been rewritten.
He said, "As an absolute quantity, we are seeing younger people and children get sicker and more severe with delta than ever before."
Many young people have struggled with misinformation and anxiety about vaccines among their parents and peers.
Angelica Granados (16) from Albuquerque (New Mexico) finally received permission from her mother last month to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. She was concerned about an allergic reaction.
Granados stated, "I've always wanted it," and described the shot as a choice between "back to normal living" and risking infection.
Erica Gonzales, her mother, stood by while she received the injection and waited with Erica for a prolonged 30-minute period.
"I didn’t want her to do it, but she can choose. It's her body. Gonzales stated that she knows best.