Asked by Fox News’ Peter Doocy on Friday about whether long hours in masks might have “harmful emotional, academic, and psychological effects” on children – echoing concerns raised by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – Psaki rebuffed the question, arguing that her own “personal experience” showed otherwise.
“My rising kindergartener told me two days ago that she could wear masks all day, and she’s just happy to go to camp and go to school,” she said, adding that possible mental harms from masks simply are not a concern for the Joe Biden administration.
We know there’s a mental health impact of them not being in school, and we should take the mitigation measures needed in order for them to be in school, and in the classroom, including masking.
Peter Doocy asks @PressSec if there's concern from health officials about the "emotional, academic, and psychological effects" of masking children in school:
"No there's not… My rising Kindergartener told me two days she could wear a mask all day." pic.twitter.com/qXN2kIQ5yF
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 6, 2021
Psaki went on to slam DeSantis – a Republican and vocal critic of mask mandates, lockdowns and vaccine passports – accusing him of flouting public health advice and “fundraising” off of it, while also arguing that “public health officials” and “not politicians” should “make decisions about how to keep my kids safe.”
The Florida governor has refused to impose masking requirements for the state’s public schools, despite a recently revised guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending face coverings in areas with “high” viral transmission, including for the fully vaccinated. In a statement issued last week after a meeting with health experts, DeSantis insisted that parents must “make their own choices with regards to masking,” pointing to potential drawbacks of long-term face coverings.
“Experts have raised legitimate concerns that the risks of masking outweigh the potential benefits for children, because masking children can negatively impact their learning, speech, emotional and social development,” he said.
This should absolutely not be imposed. It should not be mandated.
Psaki’s anecdotal approach to the masking question did not go over well with many observers online, some asking whether one 5-year-old ought to make policy for a country of more than 300 million people.
Apparently 5 year olds are now making policy – seems fitting
— don leshnock (@MeatF3Raleigh) August 6, 2021
One critic cited her own ‘personal experience’ with her kids and masks, arguing that “elementary school age children do not have mental capability” to properly wear one, while others pointed out that the press secretary didn’t bother to cite “any type of data” pertaining to emotional or mental impacts, apparently thinking a single example could settle the question.