The back-to-school mask wars have been heating up for weeks, but the Biden administration just took them to a whole new level. On Wednesday, the president ordered the US Department of Education to use all available measures to prohibit states from banning school mask mandates.
In his remarks, Biden decried the contentious school board meetings that have occurred in districts across the country as parents argue for and against school mask mandates. He indicated that the “intimidation and the threats we’re seeing across the country,” from concerned citizens who oppose mask mandates “are wrong. They’re unacceptable.”
School districts across the country are beginning to impose mask mandates for all students and staff this fall. Officials in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC declared last week that everyone in school buildings will be required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
These school districts are going beyond current CDC guidelines, which recommend masking for unvaccinated students and staff only. Instead, they seem to be embracing the masking stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics which announced last week that all students over age two, as well as staff, should wear masks at school even if they are vaccinated.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) banned students last week from wearing face shields as a substitute for masks, according to Fox 19.
The ODH cited a CDC report that said “there is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields,” and the health organization also said it “does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.”
Governor Mike Dewine announced Thursday that the Ohio Department of Health will soon release a new order mandating K12 students to wear masks as they return to school.
This announcement came after the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association (OCHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics Ohio Chapter (AAPOC) issued a letter showing support for “face coverings/masks in our hospitals, schools, and communities.”
Parents across Ohio are rallying for on-campus learning and extracurricular activities to resume as the school year starts.
More than 100 people rallied in the rain in front of Brecksville-Broadview Heights City Schools offices on Monday, according to cleveland.com. While some were there to show their support for online-only programs the vast majority called for the immediate re-opening of campus learning.