Covid-19: Delhi parents urge authorities to not force school children to wear masks

'Masks have costs: children can’t understand teachers or each other; special needs children are suffering'



PTI file
PTI file

By Our Reporter

Published: Thu 31 Mar 2022, 10:12 AM

Parents in Delhi have urged the authorities not to make their children wear masks while returning to schools, which open on Friday.

“In March 2020, restrictions including masking made sense because Covid-19 was an unknown disease,” said an online petition, signed by 2,500 parents, to Lt Governor Anil Baijal. “Two years later, we know that school-age children are at a very low risk of severe Covid-19 as compared to adults. Masks may mitigate risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission; however, continuous masking can also be harmful for children’s development needs.”

Covid-19 restrictions need to be balanced against the need to provide children with an optimal learning and social environment, they pointed out. “Masks have costs: children can’t understand teachers or each other; special needs children are suffering; young children may not develop emotional skills without facial cues; and children are finding it difficult to make connections,” said the letter.

They also referred to the health hazards of wearing masks for many hours, especially during the summer months. The searing heat and high humidity will turn the masks moist, resulting in bacteria and fungi close the noses and mouths of young children.

“Experts in India and abroad have recommended lifting of mask mandates,” said the plea by the parents. “Many countries have done exactly that. The Omicron wave has subsided, and risk of Covid-19 for all age groups is currently very low. Our children have borne the maximum burden and brunt of Covid restrictions.”

ALSO READ:

The signatories urged the authorities to remove mask mandates for school children. “Please prioritise our children’s return to normalcy and make masks optional – anyone who wants or needs to use a mask is free to do so.”


More news from coronavirus