The White House said Friday that officials were not concerned about the psychological effects of forcing children to wear masks in school to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
When asked by a reporter if there were any concerns from President Joe Biden’s administration about forcing children to wear masks in school all day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki replied, “No. There’s not.”
Psaki cited her experience as a parent as proof that children did not mind wearing masks all day.
“I can tell you from personal experience, my rising kindergartener told me two days ago she could wear a mask all day,” Psaki said proudly.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has opposed mask mandates, making the argument against them in a statement from his office:
Governor DeSantis believes that parents know what’s best for their children; therefore, parents in Florida are empowered to make their own choices with regards to masking. Experts have raised legitimate concerns that the risks of masking outweigh the potential benefits for children, because masking children can negatively impact their learning, speech, emotional and social development, and physical health (e.g., infections from bacteria that’s often found on masks, difficulty breathing while exercising in masks, etc.) Fortunately, the data indicate that COVID is not a serious risk to healthy children, which is why schools in most countries were among the first institutions to reopen. At the end of the day, the Governor trusts parents to weigh the risks and benefits and make the best choices for their kids.
But Psaki said the mask mandates for schools were essential to keeping schools open.
“Kids need to be in school,” she said. “We know there’s a mental health impact from them not being in school.”
Psaki also personally criticized DeSantis for opposing mask mandates in Florida, despite advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“I want public health officials to make decisions about how to keep my kids safe, not politicians,” she said.