In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has made normalization a key part of his COVID-19 strategy. Meanwhile, in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul, taking a cue from her recently deposed predecessor, alleged sexual assaulter Governor Andrew Cuomo, has maintained a strict protocol of fear-based COVID responses. Karol Markowicz explains in the NY Post the differences she has seen as a refugee from New York seeking normalcy in the Sunshine State.
No Useless Masks on Kids
The CDC has come around publicly to accept the idea that the cloth masks everyone is wearing are doing nothing. The first thing Markowicz notes about her Florida experience is that her children won’t be forced to wear the worthless masks. She writes:
Last week, my children went to school maskless for the first time since March 2020. Was I worried about them getting COVID? No, because there’s a mountain of evidence that their cloth Batman masks do absolutely nothing.
There has been a high cost to needlessly masking kids. Many countries weighed the risk and decided that the effect masks have on learning and human connection was simply not worth it so they didn’t mask small children the entire pandemic.
But blue areas in the United States have refused to accept science, data, reality.
Winter 2022, people are finally acknowledging the fact that cloth masks are completely useless. But we’ve had this information for a very long time. Instead of realizing their error in keeping kids masked this long, they’re moving toward getting kids “better” masks.
It’s maddening. It’s wrong. It’s anti-child. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis made unmasking children a priority and normalizing kids’ lives in general a primary concern. It shows.
Safety First, Childhood Last
Markowicz decries New York’s policies of “safety first, childhood last.” Her point is that the cost of preventing the spread of COVID cannot be the mental health and wellbeing of America’s children.
My youngest son had circle time on the rug in his classroom for the first time since the pandemic began.
New York schools have decided that children are little disease vectors and so keep them in their seats and apart from each other. No circle time for the kids for their own good. No movement in class at all, lest they spread the one and only virus we care about. No indoor play. Safety first, childhood last.
But that rug time is special and important. We understood that before the pandemic — that’s why schools had it. Destroying everything in the hope of keeping people from catching COVID became something that blue-area schools just do with no consideration of the repercussions.
COVID Spreading Despite Ridiculous Measures
Despite the ridiculous mandates and safety measures foisted on children, COVID is still spreading rapidly. What good is it doing? Certainly none for their mental health. Florida has done away with such frivolous measures. Markowicz explains:
Next week, I’m going to a “Muffins with Mom” event at my sons’ school. In-school events for parents are, obviously, not permitted in blue-area schools. It’s just not safe, they say. We used to care about parents being involved at their child’s school. No longer.
The COVID-mitigation strategies that have a stranglehold on blue areas are not working and have never worked. Yet officials continue them to the detriment of kids.
“We’re just keeping everyone safe” has not been a success. COVID is spreading everywhere. You can’t swing a rapid test without hitting a “I did everything right but somehow still got COVID” Facebook post, tweet or article. There is no “right,” and it’s long past time to face that.
Kids Should Be Living Their Lives
To conclude, Markowicz urges a return to kids “living their lives.” She finishes by saying:
The worst response is “What’s the big deal?” “What’s the big deal about masking?” “What’s the big deal that small kids no longer get circle time?” “What’s the big deal about how the kids eat lunch?” “What’s the big deal about parents visiting their child’s school?”
This nihilistic “Nothing matters” is something we say only about children. Adults know the big deal of seeing their friends, going to dinner, having experiences. The big deal is life: Our kids should be living it, not avoiding a virus that is of statistically zero risk to them.
Consider this a plea from a new Floridian to her beloved home city: Stop the madness now. My children are finally in a place of sanity, and I’m so grateful, but I continue to be incensed on behalf of all the children left behind who are going through the safety theater that we all know to be pointless.
Stop treating kids like none of their formative experiences matters. Wake up, New York, and give your kids back their normal lives.
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