The Biden Administration said recently that masking up may again become necessary as a result of a new COVID variant in Europe. That message will not be well received by parents, whose children have suffered the most from mask mandates. Recent polling from Politico and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows an increasing number of parents believe masks in school harmed their children’s education, social interactions and mental health.
Parental opposition to mandating masks for their children in schools is growing. Among parents with children in grades kindergarten through high school, 41% believe masks hurt their children’s “general schooling experience” while 11% say they help and 47% say it doesn’t make a difference. Another 34% of parents believe masks hurt their children’s education (to 11% that it helps and 55% say it doesn’t make a difference), while a large portion—46% of parents—believe that masks harmed their children’s social and learning interactions overall (to 9% that it helps and 45% no difference). Another 39% parents believe that wearing a mask in school harms their children’s mental and emotional health (to 10% helps and 50% no difference).
Democrats have spent a lot of political capital on COVID lockdowns and restrictions. The data behind recent policy changes has shown that unmasking of students in school does not create an adverse health impact. The fact Democrats are considering additional mask measures at this point shows how out-of-touch Democrats have grown when it comes to the issues that matter to parents. The 2021 elections show the GOP is in prime position to take the lead on many kitchen table issues including these. Continued messaging on Republican policy ideas and the contrasting alternative posed by Democrat leadership will help ensure a victory in the crucial 2022 midterms.