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Head of San Diego school board defends revived mask mandate

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A California school board president has bluntly defended the reintroduction of mask mandates — insisting that those who don’t like it can “choose” to stay away from classes.

Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, president of San Diego’s unified school system, was repeatedly pressed on KUSI News about parents and pupils who disagree with the controversial decision to bring back the mandates.

“They really should wear the mask,” she insisted bluntly of the divisive mandate now mostly abandoned across the US.

Those already signed up for summer school who disagree “should just make it known that they don’t feel comfortable and at that point just not return,” she said bluntly.

San Diego school board president Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne said kids can "choose" to stay home if they don'tlike mask mandate.
San Diego school board president Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne said kids can “choose” to stay home if they don’tlike mask mandate.
Facebook/Sharon Whitehurst-Payne

“Students will have that option to say, ‘I don’t want to return to school, I choose to do something else,’” she said.

Locals should also be prepared for the policy to continue in the fall “if the rates are still high,” warned Whitehurst-Payne — stressing that dissenters will have to stay away then, too.

Those unhappy with the policy “can opt not to return to the regular school but to go to the school where they don’t have to go to school at all, other than via Zoom,” she said.

San Diego Unified President Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne: Wear a mask or don't return to school
“They really should wear the mask,” Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne said of her district’s kids.
KUSI News

The San Diego board’s decision — implemented Friday — has renewed the bitter debate over masking kids in classrooms in the area.

One board trustee, Richard Barrera, dismissed critics by telling KUSI that “actual experts” formed an “absolute consensus” that wearing masks indoors “is absolutely an effective and a critical strategy” at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Students at San Diego Unified schools
The school board’s mandate has renewed heated debate about the effectiveness of masks for schoolkids.
KUSI News

However, emergency medicine and disaster specialist Dr. Kelly Victory laughed off his comments to the same station while challenging board members to a public debate.

“I have over 200 published scientific studies refuting the effectiveness of masks in stopping the spread of respiratory viruses,” she told KUSI.

“Let’s talk about the science, not about what’s politically correct and what serves another narrative, specifically fearmongering,” she said.

“We have known for decades that face masks do not stop the spread of respiratory viruses to any appreciable extent.

“If they did, we wouldn’t be in the pickle we’re in, because the places around the country and around the world that were pedantic about their mask mandates wouldn’t have continued to see significant case numbers,” she stressed.

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