Teachers unions across the country are pushing “universal masking” in school settings as a new year nears.
The Orange County, Florida, school employees group cited a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that said children over age 2 should wear masks in school, News 6 reported.
“The AAP said universal masking is necessary because much of the student population is not vaccinated, and it’s hard for schools to determine who is as new variants emerge that might spread more easily among children,” the union posted on Facebook.
While unions have not yet proposed restricting in-person learning this fall, they were the leaders in keeping kids out of the classroom during the 2020-2021 school year over infection fears.
In Illinois, the teachers union helped write a policy for Springfield School District 186 that would require “pre-kindergarten, elementary and middle school students who cannot receive COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccinations to wear face masks indoors throughout the school day,” according to the State Journal-Register.
Board member Micah Miller “said he would support a policy that required masks for those students who are unvaccinated or unwilling to share their vaccination status,” the paper reported.
“I’m happy to see us relying on the experts of medicine in our community and in our state, as well as working in conjunction with the SEA (Springfield teachers union),” board member Buffy Lael-Wolf said.
Newsweek reported in May that the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second-largest school employees union, “will continue to push for face masks to be worn in schools,” regardless of vaccination status or what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.
Union President Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten told the magazine that 89 percent of teachers were vaccinated at that time.
In June, over 100 parents, students, and teachers protested outside the United Federation of Teachers headquarters in New York City as the local union continued to demand masks in the country’s largest school district.
“Every time I tried pulling my mask down to get a breath of fresh air, I was constantly yelled at by my teacher,” 11-year-old student Jenna Miller told the New York Post.
“When I said that I couldn’t breathe, I was sent to the nurse’s office. After the nurse checked me over, she said I was fine. Then, she told me I could either put a mask back on and go to class, or get sent home because I was not following school policy,” she added.
Unions appear to have the backing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, despite recent conflicting guidance from the CDC stating masks should be optional.
“When you have a degree of viral dynamics in the community, and you have a substantial proportion of the population that is unvaccinated, that you really want to go the extra step, the extra mile to make sure that there’s not a lot of transmission, even breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals,” he said to CNN, NBC News reported.