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Parents should decide whether their child wears a mask

Editor, The Beacon:

Several recent writers have urged our local School Board to defy Gov. DeSantis’ order banning school mask mandates. I strongly disagree. No government agency knows more about the health needs of a child than that child’s own parents.

Those advocating mandates are demanding the use of heavy-handed government power to compel every young child, from kindergarten on up, to strap a piece of cloth across their nose and mouth throughout the entire school day. That’s a terrible idea, an affront to individual liberty, and one that’s devoid of solid scientific support. That decision must always be reserved to the parents.

In a recent article published in The Wall Street Journal (“The Case Against Masks for Children,” Aug. 9), several prominent medical experts from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Tufts Children’s Hospital found that there was not a single conclusive study on the efficacy of mask use in children.

They stated that while some kids are fine with masks, many others struggle. That’s why school boards across the country have been besieged with parents pleading for an end to mask mandates.

Masks can impede breathing, leading to increased levels of CO2 in the blood, and can be vectors for pathogens if they become moist or are used for long periods. Ireland’s Department of Health refused to impose mask mandates in schools, finding they “may exacerbate anxiety or breathing difficulties for some students.”

There’s also the possible harm to the development of children’s verbal and communication skills since masks mute the nonverbal forms of communication that are the building blocks of phonetic development. Additionally, the seasonal flu is far more deadly to children than COVID, yet no one demands mask-wearing during a normal flu season.

We Floridians are blessed with a governor who understands that our government must judiciously balance the use of its power to effect reasonable public health measures with the need to preserve the constitutional liberties of a free people. We must never cease to demand this restraint, lest we lose our freedoms through ever-expanding government dictates.

John DiChiara

DeLand

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