Masks for primary-school chilren

 

A chara, – As an educationalist, I have deep concerns about the safe and effective use of masks for young children.

They pose a negative impact on children’s social and emotional development and interfere with the actual process of teaching and learning.

In particular, they will have an adverse impact on children who have speech and language difficulties or for other reasons would find mask wearing a stressful occurrence.

To be clear, in Castle Park School in Dalkey any child over the age of nine who wishes to wear a mask is welcome to do so, but it is not a requirement due to the lack of evidence, guidance or metrics that will steer its discontinuation. – Le meas,

STEPHEN McKERNAN,

Headmaster,

Castle Park School,

Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Since there is no legal regulation concerning the Government’s request that children endure yet more restrictions, some of which is simply in order to access schooling, I believe it is disingenuous to label it a requirement at all.

One of the main lessons I have always taught my children, is that if someone asks something of you, it is every bit as possible to say no as to say yes. In light of the lack of legal substance, and no parallel “requirement ” to stem adult revelry, in this instance, on behalf of my children, and in their defence, I say no. – Yours, etc,

NIAMH HOPKINS,

Leixlip, Co Kildare.

Sir, – Since August 2020, Ireland has forced secondary-school children to wear masks all day in class.

A year and a half is more than sufficient time to collect data and evaluate the effectiveness of a measure such as this.

What evidence, therefore, can the Government now offer to show that this action has had a positive impact on transmission? If it cannot show any such evidence, what justification for now extending it to primary-school children?

What was accepted on good faith last year by parents as an emergency measure in a world of unknowns does not merit the same understanding now when ample time has passed to evaluate and properly justify it.

– Yours, etc,

DAMIAN BRUCE,

Shankill, Dublin 18.

Sir, – As a retired primary-school principal I was horrified to hear that schools will be expected to refuse entry to children who present without a mask. It begs the question, what exactly does the Department expect a principal to be? Are principals now expected to act like heartless security personnel, turning children as young as nine away from the door? Where will they go? Who’s being punished and who is to blame? Children don’t control their own lives.

For many children the best part of their day is sandwiched between 9am and 3pm, where they’re safe, happy and stimulated. Let’s not turn them into pawns in a protracted game of chess between the Government and a jaded public.

For the record, if mask wearing is deemed to be a good idea, I think it should be implemented as widely as possible.

Principals, teachers and school staff are there to educate and support. Children never needed it more than now.

– Yours, etc,

MARIA O’ROURKE,

Oak Park Road, Co Carlow.