In Britain, Younger Youngsters Don’t Put on Masks in College

But quarantines were disruptive to students and parents, resulting in more than 1 million children being forced out of schools, or 14 percent of the public school population, in mid-July. About 7 percent of teachers were sent home over the same period.

Rudo Manokore-Addy, the mother of a 7 and 3 year old in London, described himself as more cautious when it came to the virus than the typical British parent. In the spring of 2020, she encouraged her daughters to wear cloth masks in front of the house. Over the past summer and winter, she temporarily kept both girls out of school to monitor the school’s virus guidelines before sending their children back.

Updated

Aug. 28, 2021, 11:46 p.m. ET

Last spring, during the Delta Wave, she and her husband liked to keep their children unmasked at school.

“I was very relaxed,” she said. “In the end we just decided to take part. We were confident that the school had practices. “

In the United States, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently recommending universal masking in school buildings, and the CDC has indicated that violations of the use of masks were likely responsible for some spread of Covid-19 in American schools.

That recommendation was contradicting itself as nine states tried to ban the ordering of school masks, according to the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a think tank. However, given the low vaccination rates in many communities and limited access to regular virus testing across the country, masking can be one of the easiest safety measures for American schools. In addition, the CDC has stated that students who come into contact with the virus in schools do not need to be quarantined if both people are wearing well-fitting masks.

American conversation about masks is “so polarized,” said Alasdair Munro, a pediatric infectious disease researcher at Southampton University Hospital. “It seems to be seen either as an essential, non-negotiable imperative or as a very harmful interference with individual freedom.”

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