Gov. Tim Walz lifted the statewide mask mandate last Friday after keeping the mandate in place since July 25. However, the governor did not consider kids when updating the COVID-19 regulations.
Students and staff at public and charter schools are still required to wear face coverings throughout the entirety of the school day, even though data show that children and young people are at a lower risk of dying from COVID-19.
According to data from the Minnesota Department of Health, there have been zero deaths in the age category of 10-19 years and three deaths in the age category of 0-9 years.
Additionally, educators have had the opportunity to get vaccinated since February.
Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, tweeted a press release from Iowa’s Department of Public Health announcing that masks will be optional in school settings. Franson wrote that Minnesota’s decision to keep children in masks “is nothing more than child abuse.”
Keeping children is masks is nothing more than child abuse. https://t.co/lU03PpFCNJ
— Mary Franson (@RepMaryFranson) May 15, 2021
Iowa’s Department of Public Health also recommends that exposed children should no longer be required to quarantine, regardless of whether they were wearing a mask at the time of exposure.
Let Them Learn Minnesota published a statement blaming the governor for continuing to mask children: “There’s some confusion why masks are still required in schools. As usual, the decision isn’t made by school boards. It’s not even MDE or MDH. The order comes directly from Gov. Tim Walz,” the statement says.
The governor’s executive order 21-23, which lifts the mask mandate in most situations, says that “schools and school districts must continue to follow the face-covering requirements in the Safe Learning Plan,” which requires masks for students with exceptions for those with disabilities, medical conditions, or mental health conditions.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said he can “almost guarantee” that kids who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 will be required by schools to wear masks in the fall, according to an Axios article published this week.