Schools and universities around the U.S. are bringing back mask mandates and shutdowns as COVID-19 numbers rise, according to public records reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Runge Independent School District (ISD) in Texas, Magoffin County (MC) Schools in Kentucky, Lee County School District in Kentucky and Rosemary Hills Elementary School in Maryland are all reimplementing some form of COVID-19 measures, according to public records reviewed by the DCNF. Some universities are reimplementing mask mandates, such as Dillard University in Louisiana and Morris Brown College (MBC) in Georgia, though MBC backtracked on its mandate.
Rising COVID-19 numbers are cited by schools, colleges and universities as the reasoning for returning COVID-19 mandates and shutdowns. COVID-19 hospitalizations increased 15.7% from Aug. 20 to Aug. 26 compared to the previous week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
MC Schools and Lee County School District in Kentucky shutdown in-person classes due to respiratory illnesses in the districts in August. “We were seeing an uptick of absentees. They were saying COVID, but they were also putting strep throat in there, and there was a virus going around, a stomach virus,” Magoffin County Health Department Director Pete Shepherd told WKYT News, a Kentucky-based outlet.
Three kindergarteners at Rosemary Hills Elementary School in Maryland tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday and the school is now requiring the students and staff involved to wear masks for ten days.
Children don’t become seriously ill from COVID-19 as often as adults do, according to the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical center. “While children are as likely to get COVID-19 as adults, kids are less likely to become severely ill. Up to 50% of children and adolescents might have COVID-19 with no symptoms,” their website reads.
Dillard University in Louisiana reinstituted a mask mandate to “mitigate the spread” of COVID-19 on campus in August. “COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the nation and we are seeing elevated numbers of reported infections in the Dillard community as students return to campus from across the country. We want everyone to be aware of the steps being taken on our campus to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Dillard University’s website reads.
MBC reinstituted its mask mandate in August due to rising COVID-19 cases in Georgia and said the college has no cases yet but is “taking precautionary measures for the next 14 days.”
“Ensuring the safety and well-being of our Morris Brown College community remains paramount to this administration,” read a campus letter that President Kevin James shared with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A January 2023 Cochrane meta-analysis found that it was “uncertain whether wearing masks or N95/P2 respirators helps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses.”
Republican Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance introduced legislation for a federal mask mandate ban Tuesday, according to a press release. “We tried mask mandates once in this country. They failed to control the spread of respiratory viruses, violated basic bodily freedom, and set our fellow citizens against one another” Vance said in the press release.
Runge ISD, MC Schools, Lee County School District, Rosemary Hills Elementary School, Dillard University and MBC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
Brandon Poulter on September 8, 2023