U.S. parents still divided over school COVID masking rules -survey

By Bhanvi Satija and Leroy Leo

(Reuters) – As public schools around the United States lift COVID-19 mask mandates, parents are divided over the issue, with nearly 43% saying face covering requirements should remain in place to prevent virus transmission, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Most parents who responded also expressed concern about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 5, saying they do not have enough information, according to the KFF survey of 1,502 adults conducted between Feb. 9 and 21.

Support for masks in schools has been falling since September, when two thirds of people and over 60% of parents favored some level of mask requirements, KFF said.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drastically eased its guidelines for when people should wear masks indoors, including in schools. About 72% of the U.S. population now reside in communities where indoor face coverings are no longer recommended under the new CDC guidelines.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration postponed its review of the Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children under five, saying it needed more time to review new data.

The survey found that ahead of any FDA decision, nearly two-thirds of parents said they are not confident about the safety of existing shots for children under the age of five.

The report shows that overall U.S. COVID-19 vaccine uptake in February remained relatively unchanged from January.

About 25% of U.S. adults were still unvaccinated including one-in-six who say they will “definitely not” get vaccinated, the report found.

With U.S. mid-term elections approaching in November and COVID numbers falling nationwide, the pandemic was no longer among the top-four issues of most concern for registered voters, the survey found.

However, healthcare costs was listed fourth among major issues that will be most important to voters in the upcoming election, after the economy and inflation, voting rights and foreign policy. The survey was completed prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Source: Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Students leave Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington County which is one of several school districts which sued to stop the mask-optional order by Governor Glenn Youngkin (R), in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

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