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Friday, March 31, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Masking students is ineffective, counterproductive

Letter: Masking students is ineffective, counterproductive

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Editor: At the most recent Arlington School Board meeting, there was one voice that spoke up in favor of children – and science – following Gov. Youngkin’s executive order on masks.

When the public-comment period began, you would have thought the cavalcade of praise for the School Board’s insistence on masking kids at school would go on in perpetuity. Then Jake Berube stepped up to the microphone.

Mr. Berube’s comments echoed recommendations from the World Health Organization, European CDC, Harvard University’s Dr. Joseph G. Allen, Brown University’s Dr. Emily Oster, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Dr. Phillip Sasser and Polytechnic University of Catalonia’s Dr. Sergio Alonso, to name a few: Don’t make children wear masks.

Even if masking kids worked, the average annual pediatric-mortality rate from the flu over the past decade is identical to COVID mortality for children. COVID is not a major risk to children, and unmasked children are not a risk to teachers and staff. Our reaction to COVID, however, is making their lives objectively worse.


Symptoms of depression and anxiety are rising. The Surgeon General has said there are unprecedented levels of stress for young people. Eating-disorder hospitalizations are spiking, obesity rates have doubled. Suspected suicide attempts in adolescent girls increased massively last year. We are also risking significantly reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic. The list goes on.

Take off the masks. Maybe Mr. Berube’s Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia is an organization worth supporting.

Bryce Chinault, Arlington

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