Melbourne parent Anna Phelps, whose children are seven and 10, said students will fight to keep the masks on and that the mandate is not necessary.
“Some children will adjust and carry them, but they will be turned off as often as they are turned on. I am all for appropriate health measures, but enough of the overstretch, ”she said.
“Make masks optional, and let’s address the areas of low wax rates that are still a real concern for children and transmission when we open up.”
Meredith Peace, the Victorian branch president of the Australian Education Union, said teachers would do their best to help children understand the importance of wearing masks.
“We recognize that there may be difficulties in dealing with the use of masks among younger children, but the use of masks will add an extra layer of security in school environments, especially given that children under the age of 12 cannot yet be vaccinated,” Peace said.
Professor Fiona Russell, group leader at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said forcing children to wear masks when face-to-face learning resumes would help keep classrooms open and avoid the need to send more students back into isolation.
“Masks will lead to a reduction in transmission, so we would highly recommend it; But the most important thing to reduce infection is that teachers and parents are vaccinated. ”
But Professor Russell said the introduction of a mandate was less preferable than strongly recommending wearing a mask.
“The concern for a mandate is for children with behavioral and learning difficulties; there are just some kids who can not or will not hide, so what are the consequences for them? ”
Aging has contacted the Andrews Government for information on how the mask mandate is being enforced.
Year three and four pupils will be back in the classrooms of Melbourne schools on 26 October, with year five and six pupils due to follow on 28 October. Regional students at these year levels should return next week.
Tina King, acting chair of the Australian Principals Federation, said she believed students would demonstrate their adaptability to these new COVID health orders.
“They have demonstrated amazing resilience throughout this ordeal, and I think they’re just eager to come back and reconnect, and if they’re going to have to wear a mask to do that, I think they most will do it, “she said.
“Our teachers and principals will do the best they can to support students with the demands they always make.”
The mandate is in line with advice from the scientific lobby group OzSage, which is in favor of eliminating COVID and this week called for making masks compulsory for children aged 3 and over.
OzSage’s report noted that England reopened schools without a mask mandate and 8 per cent of children were absent with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within two weeks.
San Francisco, meanwhile, which has mandated masks at the age of two, has reported only seven cases of school transfers since April.
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