Requiring students wear masks has nothing to do with politics, freedom or rights. It has everything to do with ensuring kids stay in school.
Without masks, the fact is hundreds of kids will be quarantined every day in local schools. Right or wrong, and there is a lot to debate with the rules, the protocol states masks trump everything, including physical spacing and vaccination.
The definition of a close contact of a positive person is someone within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period with or without a mask. The CDC says the exception is in schools where, “close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.” Once a contact is identified, there is a rubric involving vaccination to follow as to when the individual can return from quarantine and if a test will shorten the quarantine.
It’s understandable masks remain a polarizing issue. There are extreme positions debated daily, but the matter is best viewed through the simplicity lens. Positive cases are inevitable in schools. The first couple weeks of school around here confirm many are occurring. With positives a certainty, the only way to reduce the possible close contact quarantines among students is to mask up.
The protocols are inconsistent to be certain. The rules are not the same for schools compared to restaurants and businesses. The rules are bent to keep kids in school but only with masks.
When the Maryland State Board of Education voted to mandate masks last month – a move endorsed by a state legislative committee this week – officials said they reserve the right to revisit this decision often. This is not something anti-mask folks should celebrate. There is no chance the mask mandate will be lifted unless the CDC’s protocols change. A greater emphasis is put on masks than spacing. As far as schools go, the CDC puts little value on a vaccination. It’s a disturbing view.
Schools are institutions of accountability and they must follow the health rules set forward. The problem is the rules are unfair and the local health department dictates who is a close contact. The priority is keeping kids in school. Without masks and the odd importance put on them in the protocol, students will not be able to stay in school.
It’s natural to abhor the protocol and despise wearing masks, but the reasons behind them are necessary and important to comprehend before pushing extremist views and accusations.