Newsom vs. Teachers: Who Wins the War to Ditch the Masks in the Classroom?

Matt Gush /

All across the country, we’re watching as Democrats come to their senses. They’re lifting mask mandates – and they’ll allow students into the classrooms without requiring them to suffocate through reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Even liberal California is having a change of heart. Governor Newsom wants to let people breathe in fresh air once again. It’s a beautiful thing. Only, there seems to be some pushback from teachers.

Newsom seems to be perfectly content to let K-12 students take off their masks so that learning can improve. Yet, teachers are making a case for allowing the multiple layers of masks to stay firmly over little noses and mouths for a bit longer.

California has always been a struggle throughout the pandemic. They didn’t want to give an inch when it came to allowing people to have any kind of freedom.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, schools went in lockdown. Students were shifted to virtual learning. As schools opened back up with various precautions, California schools were among the last ones to open up – and much of this can be blamed on the teacher unions.

Now, as the Omicron variant sweeps over the west coast state, teachers and their unions are demanding better masks and more frequent testing.

There’s just one problem with all of that. Omicron seems to hit people regardless of vaccination status, mask-wearing preference, or anything else. Further, testing has proven to be hit or miss. People can take two or three tests and get a different outcome each time.

The only way to move forward is through herd immunity – and many states are finally beginning to realize this.

Governor Newsom would love to join forces with some of the other Democratic governors across the U.S. He’s ready to eliminate mask mandates everywhere, including in schools. However, the teachers’ unions aren’t ready, so he has to bear that in mind.

During a recent news conference, he explained, “They just asked for a little bit more time, and I think that’s responsible, and I respect that.” He went on to say that “We recognize that we want to turn the page on the status quo.”

So, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There’s just a big question as to how quickly California will get out of the tunnel.

The mandate in schools seems to be one of the biggest woes across many Democratic states. Masks are still required in schools in New York and Illinois as a whole, as well as quite a few liberal cities, such as Boston.

How is it that the population least affected by COVID is the one with the strictest mandates? Most kids aren’t getting COVID – and if they are, they most certainly aren’t being hospitalized or dying. Those who do get it suffer symptoms that are no worse than the common cold.

Kids need to be allowed to have the same freedoms as the rest of the population. Masks aren’t doing anything to keep them protected – which is why states like Texas and Florida have allowed kids to be maskless in the classrooms for quite some time now.

The teachers’ unions in California don’t seem to be quick to offer any kind of timeline as to when they feel they can let kids breathe fresh air again.

However, Newsom does have a plan. He pointed to the fact that many children under 12 are still not vaccinated. He’d like to see the vaccine numbers climb since those are some of the biggest sticking points in negotiating with the teachers’ unions.

Perhaps Newsom and all of the teachers should be listening to the state’s epidemiologist, Erica Pan, who said, “Frankly, schools have been an extremely safe place to be, especially with masks.” Getting rid of the masks would still allow for plenty of safety.

If we can believe the California Federation of Teachers President Jeff Freitas, “We support developing a plan for transitioning away from masking in schools – an off-ramp – that is based on science and not politics.”

Meh, it sounds like politics right now. Hopefully, they’ll come around because kids need to enjoy being in the classroom, and they can’t do that while being smothered behind five layers of fabric.