September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. | U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has joined more than two dozen fellow lawmakers in calling for transparency in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance recommending masks for all students in K-12 schools.

“The elementary and secondary years are too valuable a time in a child’s development to be impeded by one-size-fits-all mandates that are not justified by the available data,” Stefanik said Sept. 14 after she joined in sending a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky asking for the specific scientific evidence behind the mask-use guidance.

“In the midst of the CDC’s changing recommendations that appear more rooted in politics than scientific research on the effectiveness of masks in school settings, Gov. Hochul still declared a state-wide mandate for New York’s students. I am calling for transparency from the CDC on their evidence that justifies universal masking of schoolchildren because I believe parents are the ones who should be making decisions regarding the learning and development of their children.”

On Aug. 5, the CDC revised their guidance to recommend universal indoor masking for all students ages two and older- recommendations soon adopted and upheld by districts across the nation and North Country.

In the letter, signed by Stefanik and 33 Congressional colleagues, lawmakers said credible research has concluded that children have a very low risk of facing serious complications from COVID-19 but noted “there has been a troubling lack of data on the potential impacts of mask-wearing on social development for children, especially in the case of elementary school students.”

In the letter, Stefanik and others are asking the CDC to answer a number of questions, including:

-What scientific evidence the CDC has relied on in recommending students to wear masks

-If the CDC has identified conclusive data indicating school-aged children’s potential as key vector’s for transmitting the COVID-19 virus and its variants

-What the developmental and educational impacts of masks on in-person education for K-12 students are and whether any conclusive studies are currently analyzing those impacts

-What metrics are being considered in the future for modifying the current guidance regarding mask wearing by school children

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