Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Montana Nurses Association does itself a disservice by pushing masks on children

| October 1, 2021 7:00 AM

To the editor:

The Montana Nurses Association has referred to the recent emergency rule from Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services regarding not masking in school as “promotion of junk science.” One might be wise to use caution as well as introspection in using such a bold statement.

MNA expressed frustration that the department did not cite peer-reviewed studies in explaining its rule. For every peer-reviewed study showing the effectiveness of masks, one could find just as many showing they are not effective in reducing the risk of virus transmission, especially simple cloth masks worn improperly by school-aged children.

The “junk science” may really be in only telling half-truths that have bred distrust in so many. For a profession that did its best to instill in me the idea of critical thinking, I have watched over the years as this concept is replaced with algorithms and protocols. When one ceases to think critically, they become more susceptible to manipulation and thus control.

DPHHS was right in rule making that affirms parental rights in determining what is best for their children. According to Montana’s COVID-19 website, not one child under the age of 19 in the past one-and-a-half years died of the disease. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s statistics for Montana, there is a 99.9 percent survival rate in the rest of the population, thus masking children really isn’t an argument to use in protecting the elderly.

What is unquestionably known is Montana kids’ struggle with mental health. According to the Montana DPHHS website, suicide is the second leading cause of death among children 10 to 24.

Studies are still being done on the long-term effects of masking and COVID-related disruptions to young minds, but masking and the associated policing of mandates undoubtedly is taking a toll on mental health, especially among those young Montanans already dealing with anxiety and social isolation issues.

Mask mandates in schools are certainly causing harm to mental health, while the protection masks in schools provide from COVID-19 is uncertain at best. A person with any critical thinking skills doesn’t need a peer-reviewed study to question why mask mandates are the choice being made.

At a minimum, that choice should be made by parents who know their child’s needs best.

This lack of critical thinking discredits the Montana Nurses Association.

State Rep. Amy Regier, RN