Normality will take a long time. The end of the pandemic is nigh. Americans continue to get vaccinated at a rapid clip. Life will be moving on. Except, it seems, for children. For more than a year, they have suffered from irrational, unscientific and downright superstitious policies inflicted upon them by adults — and there is no end in sight.
In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance that three-foot social distancing suffices in schools, instead of the usual six. Yet in many localities where teachers unions wield power, schools still didn’t fully reopen. In New York City, schools have reopened on a (very) part-time basis in large part owing to the debunked six-foot rule.
United Federation of Teachers boss Michael Mulgrew immediately balked at the guidance, calling it “strange” and saying the union would consult with its own experts. But the real question is: Why do kids even need to socially distance at all? Many places in Europe, including Britain, as well as some schools across America, long ago scrapped social-distancing requirements for kids. They opened their schools and kept them open. That’s because research has repeatedly showed that children are at minuscule risk from the disease and also transmit it a much lower rate than do adults.
We also need to cut it out with the masking of kids. Let’s notice that every video of a 2-year-old being escorted off an airplane for not wearing a mask is set in America. On European flights, masks are required for ages 6 and up. You can’t reason with a 2-year-old. (Trust me, I’ve tried.) And while masking 6-year-olds still seems unnecessary and should hopefully end soon, it’s saner than sticking one on a toddler. In November, Maria van Kerkhove, head of the World Health Organization’s emerging-diseases unit, clarified that “for children under 6 years old, we don’t recommend the use of masks.” This, she said, was “for many reasons — because of the way children are developing” and because enforcing adherence is a fool’s errand. She added: “Between 6 [and] 11, we recommend taking a risk-based approach depending on where the children are, the types of activities they are doing.”