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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.48 minutes to read.

A lot of students at schools — all the unvaccinated ones — should be wearing masks, especially in light of the highly contagious Delta variant now spreading through the state. But just try to make that reality stick on a school campus if vaccinated students go without face coverings. The unvaccinated ones will want to be the same, and are likely to strip off their own masks — or vice versa.

Teachers will have the heavy task of trying to catch their students up on the learning they lost during a year and a half of remote lessons. The last thing they need is to become mask monitors, overseeing which students need their masks and which don’t. It’s more effective, and simpler to enforce, when everyone has to wear a mask…

At this point, the highest priority for schools has to be getting kids back into physical, not virtual, classrooms, where they generally learn better, receive more services and have the opportunity to socialize. And parents will be more likely to send their children back to campus if they feel it’s a safe environment.”

Editorial Board, LA Times ($)

Children ages 12 and older should be encouraged to get immunized, and vaccines are likely to be available for younger children this fall. However, students don’t need to be segregated by vaccination status, nor should they be required to get vaccinated when they return to school…

Face masks have been a vital part of virus mitigation strategies, and they’ve worked. But as the number of Covid-19 cases diminishes, masking guidance requirements can be revisited. The World Health Organization bases its recommendations for indoor masking on local Covid-19 infection rates. We believe that for now, children ages 5 and older should keep wearing face masks indoors. But the United States should consider revising its guidance for children when hospitalization rates fall below five per 100,000 people in a community and two-thirds of adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

When children play outside, masks are unnecessary. Research has repeatedly shown that the risk of coronavirus transmission outside is very low. The C.D.C. recently said that unvaccinated children do not need to wear masks outdoors except in crowded settings when rates of viral transmission are high. As long as transmission rates remain low, children should be able to skip the masks while playing outside.

Tracy Beth Hoeg (@TracyBethHoeg) is a physician and an epidemiologist at the University of California, Davis. Monica Gandhi (@MonicaGandhi9) is a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and the director of the U.C.S.F. Center for AIDS Research. Daniel Johnson (@DrDanielJohnson) is a professor of pediatrics and the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Chicago Medicine. (Published in the NYT)

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.47 minutes to read.

All public health interventions have a public health cost, and masking our children –especially very young ones – against COVID is no exception…

Regular mask use in children is far from risk-free, especially in circumstances when the masks are not frequently changed or worn properly…

A study from Singapore back in April also showed that carbon dioxide content increases with face mask use. And last year, a study of 343 health professionals on the front lines in New York City determined that prolonged mask use led to headaches, rashes, skin breakdown, impaired cognition, or other adverse affects in a majority of those studied.

Beyond that, young children have trouble reading faces and learning unspoken behavior with masks on, especially following more than a year of remote learning and diminished socialization experiences…

Based on current science, I vote yes on CDC guidance and no on mandatory masks in schools. Masks for kids may be recommended, but not forced.

Dr. Marc Siegel, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors and a Fox News medical correspondent, is a professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health (Published in USA Today)

We’re now 16 months into the pandemic and children remain victims of the Covid political theater that has characterized the national debate about masks ever since.

We’ve had an entire school year to prove what scientists have said all along: Children aren’t major vectors of the virus, and schools and child-care centers aren’t drivers of community spread…

Multiple peer-reviewed studies have found that children transmit the virus at a much lower rate than adults do. The latest comprehensive data show that children have an extremely low chance of dying or becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, and that the child mortality rate is much lower than what public-health officials had initially suspected…

It’s clear from the data that masking children is irrelevant to Covid outcomes. Look at Sweden, where children attended school unmasked and saw no change in pediatric death rates. In a study of 400,000 German children conducted between August and December, when masks weren’t in use in classrooms (August to October) there were fewer student cases than after they were introduced. (The difference likely resulted from seasonal changes, not the introduction of masks.) A separate study tested schools in Florida, New York and Massachusetts and concluded that there was no correlation between mask mandates and the spread of the virus.

You don’t have to be a statistician or an epidemiologist to know that masking children is pointless at best and unhealthy at worst.

Ashley E. McGuire, WSJ