San Diego school board president says students must wear mask or don’t bother returning to school

San Diego Unified School District Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne has defended the district’s decision to go back to indoor masks and mandates and suggested that pupils who are who are uncomfortable wearing masks should are not allowed to go back at school.

“They must put on the masks,” Whitehurst-Payne said in an interview on “Good Morning San Diego” Monday. She also said that those who are uncomfortable in the mask “at the point of discomfort, do not go back.”

The announcement comes after the school district announced that students who attend summer school are forced to wear masks inside.

“If your child is enrolled in a summer school or any other summer enrichment program, you must take the student to school or their program with a mask” the district wrote in a letter addressed to parents, as reported by KUSI News. “If they don’t possess a mask, one will be made available. Staff and students must wear masks when they are in the indoors.”


This district has not yet decided whether they will have an additional mandate to mask the fall semester. They are noting that they will “continue to monitor COVID-19 at the community level based on CDC and County information and we will inform you if there are any changes over the next 2 weeks.”

Whitehurst-Payne suggested that for parents worried about the possibility of an mask-related requirement for the fall there are “some alternatives” like “school which is online.”

“They may choose to not return to regular school, but go to the school that they do not have to attend school except through Zoom,” she said.

Recent research has revealed the harm that the change away from in-person instruction has done to student performance and academic performance, with one Harvard University studyshowing huge gaps in the outcomes of schools that did not spend more than three weeks of remote learning versus those that relied upon online education for the majority of the duration of the pandemic. These gaps were particularly evident in schools with low-income or minority families.

Students from elementary schools wearing masks inside their classrooms. (iStock)

“Students in schools that were high-poverty and were not in the school by more than 50% the time between 2020 and 21 could be expected to see an increase of 5 percent in their earnings average over their entire career, based on the past correlations between earnings and test scores,” Thomas Kane, an education professor in Harvard who was one of study’s authors and the study’s findings. “That might not seem like a lot but if we calculate losses for all 50 million children who attend K-12 schools in the U.S., it would be a staggering loss of $2 trillion in the lifetime earnings.”

The children are at a lower chance of suffering serious COVID-19-related complications, and one Harvard study concluding that “many are not suffering from indications” and those who do develop illness “experience more mild symptoms like fatigue, low-grade fever as well as cough.”

The other members on the SDUSD school board and district superintendent Lamont A. Jackson, and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria did not immediately respond to an Fox News request for comment.

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