In his weekly column published Monday, May 10, at Ron Paul Institute website, the former Texas representative accused Walensky of ignoring the science, noting that wearing a mask while exercising or playing sports has negative health effects.
"Dr. Walensky's recommendation is one more example of COVID authoritarians' refusal to listen to the science," wrote Paul, who worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist from the 1960s to the 1980s.
He said that Walensky's most outrageous disregard of science is ignoring the fact that children are statistically unlikely to be at risk of either spreading or becoming sick from the virus. "Many children have had their physical and mental health damaged because they cannot go to school, play with their friends, or even have a birthday party because of the lockdowns," wrote Paul.
According to the CDC, children two years and older should wear "cloth face coverings" when they are "in the community setting" to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The CDC has also indicated that masks are an important part of reopening schools for all children. While the guidance is not "mandated" by the organization, Walensky told NBC News that masking and social distancing are part of a "road map" of "what we believe are the next best steps" toward reopening.
"So much of getting back to school safely is really about how much disease is in the community, because most of what comes into the schools is coming in from the community," Walensky said.
Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a family physician and child development expert, said children should wear masks as much as possible, especially in congregate settings like a school classroom or on a playground. (Related: April 20th: Now they want to mask TWO YEAR OLDS… and in Oregon, they're pushing to make masks PERMANENT.)
"We do a lot of good when we say, 'Hey, in addition to washing your hands, and please stop licking things, we'd also like you to wear a mask,'" Gilboa told TODAY Parents. "We really want to slow and stop the spread of this."
Dr. Jamie Macklin, a pediatric hospitalist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, stressed the importance of not allowing babies and children two years old and below to wear masks.
"Babies and young toddlers have smaller airways," Macklin said. "Breathing through a mask can be harder for them. Using a mask on an infant can increase their risk of suffocation."
Gilboa agreed that babies and toddlers should not wear masks that "could be a choking hazard," telling parents to make sure that the material and strings do not pose risks to little ones.
Macklin said the CDC also tells people not to put masks on anyone who may not be able to remove the mask by themselves, providing yet another reason why babies should not be masked.
Two major teachers' unions – the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – have stood in the way of reopening schools. The union leaders have claimed that it is too dangerous for teachers to resume in-person classes, even though adults are at little or no risk of getting the virus from children.
The joint AFT-NEA affiliate's survey of 9,500 teachers and other school personnel found 29 percent of teachers planned to leave the profession and 49 percent preferred distance learning. The survey also found that even with all the safeguards, two-thirds of teachers and school personnel were scared to go back.
Paul expressed his disappointment with the unions' stance in his May 10 column.
"Sadly, teachers' unions are disregarding the interest of children. Recently released emails show the CDC disregarded the science in favor of the AFT's restrictive guidance when developing recommendations concerning reopening schools," he wrote. (Related: Teachers union exposed for bullying CDC into keeping public schools closed for in-person learning.)
The issue of reopening the schools affects virtually every family and teacher in the U.S. The coronavirus pandemic forced schools to immediately shut down their buildings, a move first advocated by the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA).
Districts scrambled to provide iPads and tablets and find Wi-Fi hot spots for students as school shutdowns forced quick transition to distance learning via computers and zoom.
The shutdowns also forced millions of parents, especially women, to leave the workforce to stay home to both care for their children and to monitor their learning. Despite those efforts, surveys and teachers reported that students lost valuable lesson time and knowledge.
The negative effects of lockdowns and school shutdowns for children have led many parents to consider alternatives to government schools. Some private schools have remained open and "have followed the science" by not forcing their students to wear masks, according to Paul.
Many parents are also considering homeschooling.
Paul has his own homeschooling curriculum called the "Ron Paul Curriculum," which provides students with a well-rounded education that includes rigorous programs in history, mathematics and the physical and natural sciences.
The curriculum also provides instruction in personal finance. Students can develop superior communication skills via intensive writing and public speaking courses. Paul's curriculum also provides students the opportunity to create and run their own internet-based businesses.
The government and history sections of the curriculum emphasize Austrian economics, libertarian political theory and the history of liberty. Paul said his curriculum does not put ideological indoctrination ahead of education.
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