California, New York, Texas, Florida, and other states weigh in on mask mandates for schoolchildren — here’s where they stand

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California, New York, Texas, Florida, and other states weigh in on mask mandates for schoolchildren — here’s where they stand
California New York Texas Florida and other states weigh in
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As the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, will your child need to wear a mask to attend school? It depends on where you live. Some states, mostly Democratic-leaning, are requiring masks in schools. The list includes New York, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Oregon and Illinois.
Separately on Wednesday, California announced that teachers and school employees will have to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. It’s the first state-level requirement for teachers. (California already announced it would require its state employees to show proof of vaccination or undergo testing.) Teachers in Washington D.C. school systems will also need to have vaccinations or weekly testing requirements. It will also require students to wear masks.Republican states Several Republican-leaning states, including Texas and Florida, have laws saying local school systems can’t force mask rules. Those orders are being put to the test. Two Texas judges on Tuesday allowed local leaders in Bexar County, home to San Antonio, and Dallas to have mask mandates for now at least. Bexar County officials then issued an order for applying to schools, while the Dallas school system announced its mask mandate on Monday.


Gov. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) said school officials who enact their own mask mandates could have their salaries withheld.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said school officials who enact their own mask mandates could have their salaries withheld. In Louisiana, a Republican-leaning state where COVID-19 cases have been flaring, the state’s mask mandate on all indoor facilities runs through the month. However, it could be extended if needed, said the office of Governor John Bel Edwards, who is a Democrat, despite the state voting for Donald Trump in 2020. There are no statewide mask mandates for school children in Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, or Wyoming — a trend common in red states. Vaccine mandates vs. mask mandates The latest CDC guidelines say everyone inside school should be masked, regardless of vaccination status. CDC guidelines are just suggestions, not enforceable rules. One survey of school districts across the country last month found a 40%/40% split of schools with and without mask requirements, with a remaining 20% undecided.


The majority of all of the parents who were surveyed swung to ‘no’ when asked whether schools should require COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccine mandates are a less popular idea than mask mandates, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation survey, tracking attitudes on COVID-19. The majority of all of the parents (58%) surveyed swung to ‘no’ when asked whether schools should require COVID-19 vaccination. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of parents say their child’s school should make unvaccinated students and staff wear a mask on school premises, it added. But focus closer on the differing demographics in the Wednesday poll of 1,259 parents and the political fractures become clear.Democrat vs. Republican views on masks The large majority of Democratic-leaning parents (88%) and two-thirds of politically independent parents support school mask mandates. More than two-thirds of Republican-leaning parents (69%) oppose mask mandates. Black and Hispanic parents back school masking rules, 83% and 76% respectively; that’s a greater rate than white parents, of whom just over half back the idea.

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Almost one third of teens age 12-15 and 41.6% of 16- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated. Kids under the age 12 are not eligible.

At this point, kids below age 12 are not eligible for vaccination. Children above that age can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech
PFE,
-3.90%
shot. Almost one third (30.6%) of teens age 12-15 and 41.6% of 16- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. To be sure, when it comes to vaccines in classroom, the big issue now isn’t rules for kids getting the shot. It’s about the adults. The Kaiser poll comes just ahead of a school year that’s shaping up to be as contentious as last year — and masks are one of the biggest flash points.Parents’ views on their children and vaccines When asked if their child would get their shots, the poll showed the parents in the “wait and see” category increased from June to July, going from 34% to 41%. The parents who said they would “definitely not” let their kids get the shot decreased to 20% from 25%. The 20% “definitely not” mark is the same as it was in May and two percentage points below the 22% mark in April. Many parents will not budge. An unnamed Black mother from Michigan explained why she is opposed to her child’s vaccination.


All of the vaccines are being administered under an emergency use authorization from the FDA; none has received full approval.

“I feel as a parent this vaccine has not been tested enough…And my child is not a test dummy,” the survey quoted her saying. All of the vaccines are being administered under an emergency use authorization from the FDA; none has received full approval. Indeed, vaccinated and unvaccinated parents who have unvaccinated kids share worries about the long term. Almost nine in 10 parents (88%) say they are somewhat or very concerned about not enough being known about the lasting effects of the vaccine on children. In fact, 81% of vaccinated parents and 94% of unvaccinated parents felt that way.



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