ATLANTA — Dozens of school districts around the country have eliminated requirements for students to wear masks, and many more are likely to ditch them before the next academic year.
Where many see a continued need to protect children and teachers who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, opponents argue that masks make students uncomfortable and mandates impinge on freedom.
At some school board meetings, there’s been emotional and highly divisive debates. Most public health experts say it’s too early to relax mask rules since few children are vaccinated and they spend hours indoors at school.
Even as some U.S. schools remain closed to minimize infections, districts in states from Alabama to Wyoming decided to ditch student mask mandates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance says schools “should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing.”