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Poll: Nearly Half of Parents Say Masks at School Hurt Kids

Parents who have kids at schools with mask mandates more than twice as likely to be Democrats

Teacher and students in 2020 / Getty Images
• March 25, 2022 12:20 pm

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Nearly half of parents say forcing children to wear masks at school has hurt their educational, relational, and mental development, a Politico-Harvard poll found.

Forty-six percent of parents surveyed said school masking "hurt their children's social learning and interactions." About 40 percent "think it has hurt their general schooling experience" and harmed their "mental and emotional health." About a third say it "hurt their education." Almost half said school masking made no difference, and just 11 percent believe it helped kids.

The poll reveals what could be a political liability for Democrats in November. Half of parents who identify as independent agree that masking hurt their child's education and is unnecessary, whereas 70 percent of Democratic parents believe forcing kids to wear masks at school is "necessary." Parents who have children at mask-mandated schools were more than twice as likely to be Democrats. By contrast, about two-thirds of Republicans believe masking has hurt kids at school.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has provided guidelines for most school mask mandates, promoted aggressive masking measures for children during the pandemic, encouraging universal indoor masking for all children ages two and older. Neither the World Health Organization nor the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recommended masking young children.

The poll was conducted in partnership with the T.H. Chan School of Public Health and surveyed about 500 parents between March 1 and 7.