End Mask Mandates for Special Needs Kids Under 5

End Mask Mandates for Special Needs Kids Under 5

March 6, 2022
Petition to
Mayor Eric Adams and 2 others
Signatures: 263Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Hannah Scholl

I am the mother of a young child with delays in his pragmatic speech and social skills, who has been forced by the city to mask all day at his special education preschool. I was so excited to hear that Mayor Adams was planning to allow students in NYC schools to drop masking, at long last, and so disheartened when the one group he continued to mandate masks for included my son, who has the misfortune to fall into the 0-5 age group.

Mayor Adams claims this decision is based on "the science". This is not science, rather, utter madness:

First, unless your child is wearing a N95 or K95 literally the whole day, masks do close to nothing to curb spread of Covid in the school setting.

Second, during the Omricon wave in NYC the rate of kids under 5 that were hospitalized went up to 4.21 per 100k via a 7 day rolling average, and it was the fastest rising group of hospital admissions.  But even with this extremely remote possibility of hospitalization during the literal peak of the pandemic, poor outcomes in kids this age are exceedingly rare! And more importantly-the kids under 5 who are most vulnerable to poor outcomes (0-2) aren't even masking!

It makes zero sense that in order to prevent a maximum of four kids from being hospitalized per week during the peak of this pandemic, we are forcing thousands and thousands of special needs students to mask indefinitely, when there is no discernible benefit to containing the spread!

Third, masking preschoolers, and particularly students with special needs, will have real, serious consequences for their communication and social development.

No, we don't have the "science" to prove that yet, because science that involves tracking human development takes a long time- we just have our common sense. And common sense tells us that masking is BAD for the social development of all children, and particularly kids who already have social and communication delays. It is BAD for children not to be able to see each other's faces. As an adult, it is harder for me to read people when they are wearing masks, let alone if I were a young child for whom reading social cues is already extremely difficult. As an adult, it's hard for me to talk to people when wearing masks, let alone if I were a young child who has difficulty speaking to begin with. 

From the onset of this horrible disease, the World Health Organization guidelines has recommended against masking children ages 5 and younger because this age group is at low risk in terms of serious illness, because masks are not “in the overall interest of the child,” and because many children-and especially young children- are simply unable to wear masks properly. Why is it that only in America, we fail to see this blatant truth?!

Please sign this petition to communicate to Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks, and incoming NYC DOHMH Commissioner Vasan (who is responsible for the oversight of CPSE (special education) schools:

Stop forcing us to sacrifice our kids' development on the altar of a public health intervention that doesn't work! Let parents have a choice as to whether or not they want to mask their kids under 5. End the mask mandate for special needs children under 5 NOW!


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Signatures: 263Next Goal: 500
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Decision Makers

  • Eric AdamsMayor
  • David BanksChancellor
  • Ashwin VasanIncoming Commissioner, DOH (oversees CPSE)