Attorney General Alan Wilson is joining 22 other state Attorneys General in demanding the end of the Head Start program’s mask mandate. In November 2021, President Joe Biden and his administration announced a regulation requiring the forced masking of children and toddlers as young as two years old—even outdoors—in participating schools and daycares. The Attorneys General argue that the mandate subjects children and toddlers to arbitrary and inconsistent discipline for not wearing a mask, and that it is long past time for the unconscionable policy to be rescinded.
“The powers of the President do not include ordering unlawful mandates to our citizens,” Attorney General Wilsonsaid. “According to health experts, requiring masks for these young children is not what’s best for them, so this mandate needs to be rescinded.”
In a letter to President Biden, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Administration for Children and Families Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary JooYeun Chang and Office of Head Start Director Bernadine Futrell, Attorney General Wilson and 22 other attorneys general argue that the Head Start mask mandate is unnecessary. The letter states: “Your mask mandate was wrong from the beginning. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund agree: ‘Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks. This is based on the safety and overall interest of the child’…mask use should be limited because of the ‘potential impact of wearing a mask on learning and psychosocial development.’”
The letter also points out that even the states with some of the most restrictive COVID-19 policies are now lifting indoor mask mandates at schools. If the mandate remains in place, the staff, children and toddlers at Head Start programs will soon be among the only people in the country forced to wear masks.
In addition to Attorney General Wilson, the attorneys general of the following states signed-on to the letter: Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
To read a full copy of the letter, click here.