Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik joined her colleagues in writing a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky asking for transparency on their revised guidance recommending masks for all students in K-12 schools.
“The elementary and secondary years are too valuable a time in a child’s development to be impeded by one-size-fits-all mandates that are not justified by the available data,” Stefanik said. “In the midst of the CDC’s changing recommendations that appear more rooted in politics than scientific research on the effectiveness of masks in school settings, Governor Hochul still declared a state-wide mandate for New York’s students. I am calling for transparency from the CDC on their evidence that justifies universal masking of schoolchildren, because I believe parents are the ones who should be making decisions regarding the learning and development of their children.”
On August 5, 2021, the CDC revised their guidance to recommend universal indoor masking for all students ages two and older.
In the letter, the members of Congress noted that credible research has concluded that children have a very low risk of facing serious complications from COVID-19 and its variants. However, there has been a troubling lack of data on the potential impacts of mask wearing on social development for children, especially in the case of elementary school students. They specifically asked:
1. What scientific evidence is the CDC relying on in recommending students to wear masks?
2. Has the CDC identified conclusive data indicating school-aged children’s potential as key vector’s for transmitting the COVID-19 virus and its variants?
3. What is the risk that vaccinated school staff contract a life-threatening case of COVID-19 when performing their duties absent restrictions?
4. What are the developmental and educational impacts of masks on in-person education for K-12 students? What conclusive studies analyzing these impacts have been conducted or are underway?
5. What metrics will be considered in the future for modifying the current guidance regarding mask wearing by school children?
Stefanik joined Congressman Jay Obernolte (R-Calif.) and 32 of her colleagues in signing this letter. View the full letter here.