Gavin Newsom is fighting for his political life and as a result has been making all kinds of overtures to the people of California – from a new round of stimulus checks to free school meals for all to new funding for homeless programs. Two things he cannot bring himself to do are to release his emergency powers and buck the teachers unions. And what are the teachers unions demanding? Masks for all students upon returning to the classroom, which is something they still don’t really want to do (it will not surprise this writer to discover that LAUSD does not return to full-time instruction at the last minute).
Newsom has been clearly torn between saving his own skin and appeasing his union backers, and his back-to-school messaging has reflected that. He “opened” the districts that were still inexplicably locked down one day before the school year ended. He ended the mask mandate for students, then reinstated it, then sort of walked it back to a strong suggestion while at the same time indicating that students and teachers will be required to mask up regardless of vaccination status. Like his pathetic campaign to survive the recall, Newsom’s health orders are chaotic and smack of desperation.
Some smaller districts have already indicated they will not enforce mask rulings. For larger districts, the only relief will come from a gubernatorial edict.
In a report from CalMatters, some teachers have indicated masking children is not only psychologically detrimental, it makes teaching English to non-English speaking students (of which California has many) nearly impossible.
On Monday afternoon, the California Department of Public Health went back and forth on updates to its masking rule. Health officials first said students who refuse to wear masks without a valid medical excuse won’t be allowed on campuses. Four hours later, the agency revised the guidelines to say local districts will be responsible for enforcing the mask mandate.
“If the state is not going to enforce mask-wearing then neither am I,” said Amy Alzina, superintendent of Cold Spring Elementary, a 198-student, single-school district near Santa Barbara.
Cold Spring Elementary’s use of ventilation and outdoor instruction, Alzina says, makes masks unnecessary and possibly even harmful.
“Students, especially English learners, rely on nonverbal communication” she said. “I spent last year trying to smile at students with my eyes.”
Some officials are suggesting that parents may not like the mandates but will comply out of sheer desperation to get their kids back into school. They may be right, but angry parents will be looking for someone to blame and the buck stops with Gavin Newsom, who just so happens to be facing a recall on September 14.
Some rural districts do plan on enforcing the mask mandate and expect at least a few phone calls from frustrated parents. But administrators there doubt many parents will choose independent study just because they don’t want their kids to wear masks.
However, some parents have had enough of the back and forth. They see no reason to mask their children when teachers are vaccinated and children are not at risk to significantly spread COVID nor contract it. Private schools in California have been open all year and have reported no significant outbreaks or issues, and they opened before the vaccine even hit the market. People keep complaining that masking has become political, but it’s only become political because the politicians are imposing mask mandates according to politics and not logic or data.
A petition has begun circulating to eradicate student mask mandates in the state of California. Parents are beginning to grow tired of the this state of limbo. They may be willing to endure masks to return to school, but that doesn’t mean they like it and it doesn’t mean they won’t take out their displeasure on the Governor and their local school officials in the next election cycle.
The petition has just begun circulating and can be seen and signed here. If you’re not in California, consider sharing with friends and families who are still strapped behind the Mask Curtain.
Many California schools are open full-time! Fantastic! It’s time to start talking about the next steps. Our children are now in masks 32+ hours per week (much more if they have after school care). We are quickly seeing negative repercussions in health and development for minor children.
This petition supports the science that outdoor masking, and masking of children is ineffective and not in the best interest of their health.
We aim to first remove masks while outdoors for children, and eventually in the classroom. It has been said by our President, Dr. Fauci, the CDC (and many others) that masking is not effective and in fact unnecessary at this stage of the pandemic while outdoors. Furthermore that children are not the demographic spreading COVID-19. After a year we can say that non-medically fragile children never were the demographic at risk.
And yet, we are requiring children to improperly cover their faces with non-medical masks, impeding their social emotional development and their ability to get oxygen while they run and play! It is time to release them from this burden and let them be children again! We can not ask them to begin another school year this way.
Thank you for your support.