Billy Boniface, Republican Candidate for Harford County Executive, has released the following statement urging the Harford County Board of Education to refrain from requiring masks for students and school personnel:
As Harford’s families prepare to send their children back to school, reports that some school systems in Maryland are now deciding to again require masks when they open in the fall are concerning to me.
Last year we were told that masks should be worn until all teachers could be vaccinated. Now that all teachers and school system employees have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated if they chose, there is no justification for requiring masks in schools.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that in the few cases where children have contracted Covid, it very rarely results in hospitalization. According to the CDC, since the pandemic began a year and a half ago, there have been less than 300 deaths in the U.S. among those under the age of 18. For comparison, the flu kills an average of between 400 and 500 children per year.
The science is also clear that less than 1 out of every 1,000 vaccinated Americans have contracted a “breakthrough” case of Covid. And in the unlikely event that they do get it, it is even less likely to cause hospitalization.
The Biden Administration’s messaging on this topic has been predictably incoherent, and their recent flip-flop on mask wearing among the vaccinated seems to undermine their own efforts in touting the vaccine.
Certainly, the health and wellbeing of our children and educators is a very serious matter. But CDC recommendations are just that – recommendations. Leadership requires the thoughtful evaluation of all available data and input in making decisions that affect the daily lives of citizens. It also requires common sense.
There is no legitimate justification for mandating masks in schools. I urge the Board of Education to stay the course and not require masks in Harford County Public Schools in the upcoming school year, and to leave that decision up to parents and individual employees.