Largest Teachers Union Still Pushing For Mandatory Masking?

Leaked documents allege that nation's largest teachers union wants to mandate universal masking for all public schools.

By Erika Hanson | Published

National Teacher Unions Have Lost 200,000 Members

universal masking

For one reason or another, face coverings have become the center of many contentious, heated debates in America, and many other places around the globe. Masks have been proven to deter the spread of viruses for centuries, but because some online sites bank on the fact that it isn’t a certain, 100% prevention to viruses, there has been a massive outcry against their requirement in schools and businesses throughout the COVID pandemic. Teachers’ Unions have been heavily criticized by opponents for pushing for mask mandates, and even now that the majority of schools ended this past school year without a mask mandate, the attention is back on the largest teachers union, as they allegedly continue to push for universal masking. 

This week, the country’s largest teachers union met in Chicago for its annual assembly meeting. The Washington Examiner reported that they have obtained insider information about certain topics discussed during parts of the National Education Association’s (NEA) conference. Among other contentious conservative debatable topics, universal masking is said to be something the group is calling for heading into the next school year. 

This information came in the form of a Tweet, shared by Terry Stoops, the director of the center for Effective Education for the Johne Locke Foundation. In a thread, Stoops shared obtained documentation about what items were up for debate during the assembly, with universal masking being one of the heavily retweeted points of interest. It is unclear how Stoop obtained this information, but to further back his claims, he shared more documents in the form of slides on the foundation’s site here

According to the information, the NEA wishes to work with state officials to support a national policy pushing for not only student vaccine mandates, but also universal masking. Additionally, they want to make it mandatory that all schools offer virtual instruction for immunocompromised students at risk of becoming severely ill from the COVID virus. Additionally, the document contains the teachers’ union’s logic for asking for these things. To this, they say that nearly 67% of the public currently live in areas with medium to high levels of positive COVID rates. 

The battle over masks worked its way into public education when schools across the nation reopened this year, but many required students to mask up for the school day. Many parents were outraged at the ruling requiring students to wear masks for extended periods of time, alleging it made it hard for them to breathe and therefore was a distraction disrupting learning. Universal masking, to these parents, is enough to drive most families out of public schools. 

But for other parents and students, universal masking is not such a scary concept. Many Americans have adapted to wearing masks. And in most cases, these students are not required to wear them for the entire stretch of the school day. They are given mask breaks, and even periods of time where they are taken off, so long as social distancing is observed.

Semantics aside, this leaked information remains hearsay. Likewise, the extensive details of what this “universal masking” concept really means to the NEA are currently unknown. The NEA has not responded to the claims yet, but if anything, it is surely driving more families and supporters away from the already failing trust in the organization.