Education activists agree Democrats’ change of heart on mask mandates is based on ‘political science’

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Education experts analyzed the apparent changes of heart left-leaning media and Democratic leaders have undergone on COVID-19 mask mandates and concluded many are acting on “political” science, as opposed to actual science. 

Democratic governors such as New Jersey’s Phil Murphy, New York’s Kathy Hochul, Connecticut’s Ned Lamont, and Delaware’s John Carney have all announced the rollback of mask mandates in their states as coronavirus cases decline. Fight for Schools Executive Director and America First Legal Senior Adviser Ian Prior argued it’s a positive sign that mask mandates are being eased despite the reasoning, but stopped short of giving full credit to the Democrats enacting those changes.

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“I think when you look at some of the changes that are coming out of states that have Democrat governors, what they are looking at is the polling data, the political science, not the science,” Prior told Fox News Digital at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference. “But look, if they’re going to get rid of mask mandates, and if they’re going to be pressured by those things, well then that’s great.” 

Information signs are displayed at a retail store in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced plans that Illinois' mask mandate to be lifted Feb. 28 with exceptions for schools, hospitals, nursing homes. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) 

Information signs are displayed at a retail store in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced plans that Illinois’ mask mandate to be lifted Feb. 28 with exceptions for schools, hospitals, nursing homes. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) 

“But let’s not look at that and say, ‘Oh well they’ve been here all along,'” he continued. “No, this is a cynical, political play because they realize they’ve been losing this debate for years, and if they do not want to have, ultimately, what could be an epic Republican majority coming in 2022, then they have to moderate their message. And I’m not sure it’s going to work because you have so many people on the far left that have captured the Democrat party that … having them now change their tune, I think people see through that.”

National Director of Research at the American Federation for Children Corey DeAngelis used the same phrase to describe Democrats’ loosening of mask restrictions.

“They’re following the Political Science,” DeAngelis told Fox News Digital. “The underperformance of Democrats in November likely served as a wake-up call for politicians embracing restrictions. Polling likely nudged these politicians towards relaxing mandates. But whether the rollback is because of a genuine change of heart or due to political pressure, the result is the same: families have more freedom to choose. At the same time, choosing whether your child wears a mask at school is an extremely low bar when it comes to parental rights in education.” 

Many American kids in a variety of states have had to endure mask mandates throughout the pandemic.

Many American kids in a variety of states have had to endure mask mandates throughout the pandemic.
(https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/students-in-wendy-verrall-u2019s-second-grade-class-make-news-photo/1333814539)

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Liz Lemery Joy, a New York congressional candidate, specifically challenged Hochul’s recent order lifting school mask mandates, which the Democrat said was due to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

“Given the decline in our rates, our hospitalizations, strong vaccination rates and the CDC guidance, my friends, the day has come,” Hochul said Sunday. “Today we are going to be announcing that we will be lifting the statewide mask requirement in schools.” 

Joy pointed out language that she argued showed the governor’s order was influenced not by health, but by polling.

Conservative commentator Bethany Mandel weighed in on why so many parents are decrying school masking.

“The outcry about it was really representative of the fact that so many people who are promoting masking of very young children have never actually met a young child,” Mandel told Fox News Digital at CPAC. She argued that those proponents are discounting any disabilities a child might have, as well as any sensory sensitivities.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with the National Governors Association in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with the National Governors Association in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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Both liberal and conservative parents have blasted the mandates and the long-term school closures as having had adverse effects on their children’s physical and mental health. Some states who have announced the lifting of mask mandates have nonetheless kept masks mandatory in schools.

Alejandro, a New York Democrat who took part in a recent CBS “Face the Nation” focus group, blamed the masking and inconsistent schooling for having caused a “nasty mental health crisis.”

“My middle child is going to college and they, at colleges, they really have a nasty mental health crisis – it’s not made up,” he said. “And the COVID restrictions have a lot to do with that. It’s masking. The social distancing. The asking for, having to get tested twice a week … It’s really been taxing, and it’s really affecting their social lives. It’s driving some of them pretty crazy, I guess.”

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