Nearly half of parents believe school mask mandates hurt their children’s social learning and interactions, a new poll found.
Results in the Politico-Harvard survey showed that 46% of parents with children in grades K-12 where schools required masks during the past year said students’ social learning and interactions were hurt by the mandate.
A total of 41% said masks hurt “the general schooling experience” and 39% said they hurt students’ “mental and emotional health.”
Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis, emeritus, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said Democrats should take note of the survey results as they approach the midterms.
“Even if I’m in a Democratic state or district, I’d pay attention because there are a substantial number of independent parents who think the policy is hurting their children,” Blendon told Politico.
“If you say something hurts my children, you’re going to feel strongly about it … anything that has an impact on your family has a disproportionate impact on how you think of things.”
A total of 52% of independents said masks weren’t necessary to keep kids safe.
“The parents who are against it are not going back. They’ve concluded it’s not good for children’s education, and it’s two years of this,” Blendon told Politico. “When you have a substantial number of parents who think their children are being threatened, it’s going to matter politically.”
Overall, parents pretty much were split when asked whether it is necessary today for a child to wear a mask at school in order to be safe from COVID-19 and variants such as omicron. A total of 51% said it was necessary; 47% said it was not; and 2% didn’t know.
The survey also found that parents whose children’s schools continued to require masks were more than twice as likely to be Democrats (38%) than Republicans (18%).
In contrast, parents whose children’s schools discontinued mask requirements during the school were about equally likely to be Republicans (33%) or Democrats (27%).
The Politico-Harvard survey was conducted March 1-7 among 478 parents whose children attend school in person.
The number of new coronavirus cases globally increased by 7% in the last week, driven by rising infections in the Western Pacific, even as reported deaths from COVID-19 fell, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
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