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Bergman, colleagues Press CDC to show science on masking in schools

WASHINGTON, D.C.--   Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01) joined Reps Jay Obernolte (CA-08) and 31 additional Members of the U.S. House of Representatives calling on Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky to publicly lay out the science behind their decision to recommend children wear masks in school.

“We have been repeatedly told to trust the science regarding how the CDC creates its policies, yet the lack of transparency in how this recommendation was made and the absence of studies to support it is both concerning and extremely frustrating to parents of school-aged children. Therefore, as schools are set to reopen under strict and tenuously justified mask mandates based on CDC recommendations, we respectfully request answers to these questions,” stated the lawmakers in a letter to Director Walensky.

While most credible research has concluded that children, and young children in particular, have a very low risk of facing serious complications from COVID-19 and its variants, there has been a troubling lack of data on the potential impacts of mask wearing on social development for children, especially in the case of elementary school students. At the same time, vaccinations are now regularly available for all adults and children aged 12 and up, providing significant protection for teachers and school staff.

Children have been dramatically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and they have missed out on key social developmental interactions over the past year. In-person education is essential to supporting children and families by not only providing education but also opportunities to engage in activities to support healthy development and access to social, mental, and physical health services, which can reduce stress and mitigate negative developmental outcomes.

The letter specifically asks the CDC to answer the following questions:

  1. What scientific evidence is the CDC relying on in recommending students to wear masks?
  2. Has the CDC identified conclusive data indicating school-aged children’s potential for transmitting the COVID-19 virus and its variants?  
  3. What is the risk that vaccinated school staff contract a life-threatening case of COVID-19 when performing their duties absent restrictions?
  4. What are the developmental and educational impacts of requiring masks during in-person education for K-12 students? What conclusive studies analyzing these impacts have been conducted or are underway?
  5. What metrics will be considered in the future for modifying the current guidance regarding mask wearing by school children?

Read the full letter here.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.