Republican-controlled Orange County, California is expected to announce that schools will be reopened without mask requirements or social distancing, reports The Guardian.
Los Angeles and San Diego announced that classes will be online-only throughout 2020 because of the huge surge in COVID-19 numbers and deaths.
Dr. Ken Williams, a primary care physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital who serves on the Orange County School Board of Education, told the Epoch Times on July 7 that kids don’t need precautions:
Kids, because of the low risk, do not need a mask. They don’t need to social distance, and it may be unhealthy for them. We had a psychiatrist, we had a superintendent, who said, “That is not good for our kids.”
The Orange County School Board of Education’s special panel echoed Williams, and parroted a conspiracy theory about masks being dangerous:
Requiring children to wear masks during school is not only difficult – if not impossible to implement – but not based on science. It may even be harmful.
BBC News debunked this conspiracy theory on June 20:
Surgeons regularly wear much heavier-duty face coverings all day without coming to harm…. The World Health Organization (WHO) says masks could provide “a barrier for potentially infectious droplets” in areas where “physical distancing of at least one metre is not possible.
The Voice of OC notes the experts on the Orange County Board of Education’s special panel also warned against social distancing (with evidence-free fearmongering):
Because of the established link between social-distancing and child harm, we cannot support extraordinary efforts aimed at social-distancing at school. Mandatory masks may well lead to a spike in childhood behavior problems such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, and depression to name a few.
The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention website recommends masks and social distancing for school-age children:
Put distance between your children and other people outside of your home. Keep children at least 6 feet from other people. Children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in public settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing.
The Voice of OC also notes that one of the experts on the Orange County Board of Education panel made a dark anonymous comment with zero sum logic:
This is a disease that kills our most elderly and spares our children. It may sound callous, but would we want it the other way around?