For little kids, school is a lot more than learning to read or how to do basic math. It is an important place for kids to develop their emotional intelligence and grow into kind, compassionate, and understanding human beings. To do this, kids must be able to see each other’s faces. They need to learn that someone’s words can say “Yes”, but their frown can say “No”. They need to be able to see when their friend is afraid, offended, happy, sad, or even blushing.

Mask mandates at school are robbing our kids of their social and emotional development. They are telling our kids to live in fear of getting sick. They are telling our kids to be afraid of their friends.

A year ago, I thought the mask mandates at schools made sense. We didn’t have vaccines. We didn’t know how badly the virus effected kids. We didn’t realize how effective it was to open the doors and windows of our classrooms and get some much needed ventilation. Times are different now. In Santa Clara County, over 80% of people 12 years old and up are fully vaccinated. We know that the vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization. We also know that very few small children contract the virus and when they do their symptoms are mild.

It is time for Santa Clara County to lead the way and end the mask mandates for schools. We are sacrificing our children’s development for little if any benefit. Let’s show our children that they need not live in fear. Let our children see each other’s faces at school.