Austin Independent School District in Austin, Texas, is encouraging parents to double mask their children in defiance of the Governor’s orders. The district implored parents to send their kids back to school from winter break wearing two masks as an extra form of protection. The email was sent to families on December 29.
The email reads in part:
“With Austin ISD resuming classes as scheduled after the Winter Break, staff and families can help prevent the spread of the Omicron variant by getting boosted this week, getting tested at one of our 11 hubs beginning Monday, Jan. 3, and by double-layering masks that fit well on Wednesday when classrooms re-open.”
Dr. Desmar Walkes is the medical director of Austin. She was referenced in the district-wide email, calling for students to either wear N95 masks or wear two well-fitting masks. Health experts have previously decried the effectiveness of double masking. A CDC study in April 2021 noted, “It mischaracterizes the importance of filter efficiency…The small amount of protection you will get negated.”
In September, Austin ISD implemented the campus mask mandate, joining Houston ISD and Dallas ISD.
Texas Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, whose district covers part of the Austin suburbs, believes the whole thing reeks of politics and not science.
“AISD is trying to be outwardly obnoxious with proving how liberal they can be simply to disagree with what any Republican says — as opposed to trying to follow a sound science.”
According to data from Austin Public Health, children ages 1-9 make up 5.9 percent of cases. Kids ages 10-19 comprise 11.1 percent. In Austin, there have been zero reported deaths from Covid-19 for anyone under 20 years old. There have been 17 deaths for those 20-29 years old. In the entire state of Texas, 82 children ages 10-19 have died, while 23 kids have died from 1-9 years old. There have been 14 deaths for children under age 1.
AISD concluded their letter stating, “Don’t Even Ask-Wear A Mask.” Concerned parents and policymakers note that teacher’s unions are pushing for the mask mandates. The unions reportedly told teachers last year not to return to in-person learning.
One father expressed frustration over the policy, saying, “So far, AISD has proven that their main concern is satisfying their teachers’ union, not providing the best education environment for the district’s children. This new policy is just absurd.”