Ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), a set of parents have written to Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal asking that the wearing of masks in schools, especially for children aged 5 to 11, be made optional.
Along with their representation, they have sent an online petition on the subject, which has received more than 2,500 signatories. The parents have expressed concerns over compulsory masking pointing out it could potentially obstruct children’s development needs and the health hazards long hours of masking could bring in the summer.
Schools in Delhi are moving completely offline from April 1 and will start operating at full capacity from then.
“In March 2020, restrictions including masking made sense because COVID-19 was an unknown disease. Two years later, we know that school-age children are at a very low risk of severe COVID-19 as compared to adults. Masks may mitigate risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission; however, continuous masking can also be harmful for children’s development needs…,” states their petition. “COVID-19 restrictions need to be balanced against the need to provide children with an optimal learning and social environment. Masks have costs: children can’t understand teachers or each other; special needs children are suffering; young children may not develop emotional skills without facial cues; and children are finding it difficult to make connections.”