New York City Toddlers Can Finally Take Off Their Masks
Finally! Long after lifting mask requirements in other settings, New York City has continued to require masks in schools and day cares for very young children. That madness will come to an end this week.
Effective today, children ages 2 to 4 will no longer be forced to wear masks in schools or child care settings.
Mayor Eric Adams announced the policy change last Thursday. “Beginning Monday, June 13, we will make masks optional for 2-4 year old children in all early childhood settings,” he explained in a statement. “We still strongly recommend that New Yorkers of all ages continue to wear masks indoors and we will continue to make masks available for any child or school staff member who wishes to continue wearing them.”
New York state dropped its business mask mandate back in February and ditched its school mask mandate in March. Following suit, New York City stopped requiring masks for most students on March 7.
Yet even as kids ages 5 and up were allowed to stop wearing masks, the city kept the mandate in place for ages 2–4. Officials said this was because very young children could not get vaccinated. But very young children are also the least likely to catch COVID-19 or to suffer severe consequences if they do. They are also among the least likely to wear masks correctly and consistently, or to wear tight-fitting and high-quality masks. The requirement was more about appearances than anything else, and was even less sensible than your average mask mandate.
It’s especially galling that New York City subjected its youngest residents to this hygiene theater well after giving it up for other age groups.
“I think it’s really sad that we’ve had to advocate so strongly for this—and, also, advocating with almost no response from our elected officials,” said Sumayya Ahmad, the mother of two toddlers and a member of NYC Toddler Parents for Mask Choice, in an interview with Restore Childhood.
“Toward the end of March, Adams said he would lift the mask mandate for toddlers in schools and daycare settings on April 4 if the Covid-19 rates stayed low. But the city ultimately kept the mandate in place amid an uptick in cases due to the BA.2 Omicron subvariant,” reports Politico. “Then, in early April, a Staten Island judge struck down the mandate on the grounds that the measure was ‘arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,’ but an appeals court judge later ruled the mandate could stay in place. The following month, the city scrapped the mask mandate for toddlers in outdoor spaces.”
Transgender identification is up among teens. New research suggests 1.4 percent of 13- to 17-year-old Americans identify as transgender—a significantly higher portion than found in older age groups:
The new data were analyzed by researchers at the Williams Institute, a research center at the University of California, Los Angeles law school that produces highly regarded reports on the demographics, behaviors and policy concerns of L.G.B.T.Q. populations in the United States.
The study found people 13 to 25 accounted for a disproportionately largely share of the transgender population. While younger teenagers were just 7.6 percent of the total U.S. population, they made up roughly 18 percent of transgender people. Likewise, 18- to 24-year-olds made up 11 percent of the total popul
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