A top administrator at one of America’s largest school districts said that kids may never go without masks in schools again.
Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Monica Goldson said she expects students to be required to wear masks at her schools until COVID-19 “no longer exists,” WTOP reported Monday. The Maryland school district is among the 20 largest in the country, with more than 136,000 students and nearly 22,000 employees.
“I have not been thinking about a maskless classroom,” Goldson said when asked if the district was considering a future where students aren’t required to wear masks. “The only off-ramp I want is the one where COVID no longer exists.”
Prince George’s County, MD schools CEO on mask mandate: “The only off-ramp I want is the one where COVID no longer exists…I don’t think that that off-ramp will exist. I think this is how our life will be…and we’re showing that we’re adaptable.”
— Logan Ratick (@Logan_Ratick) January 26, 2022
Goldson went on to say that off-ramp will likely never exist, meaning she foresees students wearing masks forever. “I don’t think that that off-ramp will exist. I think this is how our life will be for a [while] and we’re showing that we’re adaptable and we can make whatever necessary changes so that we can keep our students learning and safe,” she said.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks echoed the same sentiment to WTOP by deferring to health officials when asked about a maskless future.
“The masks have been our best way of keeping all of us safe, and until and unless we hear otherwise from our health professionals, we’re going to continue to stay the course,” she said. “We’ll see what the science says and we’ll follow it, and if the science says at some point it is safe for us to remove the mask we’ll do that, but otherwise, we’re in no hurry to do anything that jeopardizes the health of our students.”
As many school districts across the country fight to stay open for in-person instruction during the record-setting Omicron wave, some have begun to relax mask mandates as health experts admit they don’t help as much against the new variant. In nearby Virginia, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order barring school systems from imposing mask mandates, although some are suing to circumvent it.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top medical advisor, admitted recently that cloth masks, which are used by most Americans, aren’t particularly effective at stopping Omicron. Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of the White House’s COVID-19 advisory board, said as early as last August that cloth masks aren’t very effective. (RELATED: Fauci Admits Many Children Hospitalized With COVID-19 Aren’t There Because Of The Virus)
Omicron is also a less severe variant than prior strains as far as severe illness and death, and children face much lower risk than adults, with only a fraction of the likelihood to be hospitalized or die because of COVID-19.