Miguel Cardona, Bidens current Education Secretary, has stated that schools have an obligation to be open to in-person learning as the newest wave of Omicron washes over the country, a quite different message than many school districts are touting in the wake of rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers.
“We can do it safely,” stated Cardona while on a segment on “Face the Nation” this past Sunday, as reported by CBS News. “We have better tools than we had in the past to get it done. We know what works, and I believe even with Omicron, our default should be in-person learning for all students across the country.”
Cardona noted that there may quite possibly be various temporary closures, but quickly added that “we have to stay focused on those mitigation strategies that work.” He went on to state that the various mitigation strategies that work are “when we have masks and when we’re ensuring that if students are sick, they stay home.”
Most teachers’ unions are once again refusing to return to in-person learning, stating that the teachers do not feel safe, reported CBS.
“We’re supporting our educators by providing a safe learning environment,” stated Cardona concerning the fears. “We’re providing vaccination for our students as young as 5 so that the whole school community is safe. And we’re providing surveillance testing to make sure that if someone is sick, that they stay home. So those are the things that we can do to provide a safe school environment, and we need to double down now that Omicron is higher to make sure that we’re doing that.”
As reported by The Daily Wire, Joeseph Ladapo, the Surgeon General of Florida, stated back in October that the various pieces of evidence in favor of mandating that all kids wear masks in schools is “very weak.”
“Step back for a moment from what you hear constantly on TV, and just very briefly in terms of the data that supports mask use for kids and mandates for mask use for kids, it is very weak and that’s a fact,” claimed Ladapo while holding a press conference this past October while standing with Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who has held his stance of refusing to allow any mask mandates to be instated for children in schools.
“So there is a substantial gap between the quality of the data out there, which shouldn’t surprise you, right? We haven’t been doing this very long. But there is a substantial gap between the quality of the data out there supporting masks in kids yielding any benefit for kids whatsoever – factual – and what we’re hearing from our public health leadership in other states and nationally,” Ladapo went on to say.
This stance differs from that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that states that it still continues to recommend all children wear masks. The CDC website on the matter states, in part:
Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
In addition to universal indoor masking, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as screening testing. …
Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect students, teachers, staff, visitors, and other members of their households and support in-person learning.