Study Says That School Mask Mandates Had Little Effect On Stopping COVID Spread

A new study concluded that school mask mandates were no different than mask optional schools at slowing the spread of the COVID virus.

By Erika Hanson | Published

D.C. Delays Enforcement Of Student Vaccine Mandate

school mask mandates

Thousands of years from now, if humanity is still alive and kicking and COVID is just something mentioned in textbooks, there’s a good chance humanity will still debate whether or not school mask mandates were effective in curbing the spread of the virus. For now, studies are contradictory, with some suggesting they work, and others claiming not so much. Now a new research study has released its finding, with more evidence that masking children in school made little to no difference.

Maine Wire reported that a new study examined two separate schools within Fargo, North Dakota. One of them kept a school mask mandate in place for the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year. The other did not require them. Overall, the evidence suggested that there was no difference in the spread of COVID at either school and therefore it was concluded that masking was redundant. 

Despite this new study, critics were quick to point out flaws in the researchers’ conclusions. For one thing, the study has yet to be peer-reviewed, so similar experts studying school mask mandates have yet to evaluate its evidence and findings. Likewise, plenty of believers that feel masks do work to stop the spread of viruses say that an example studying just two schools is not enough to make such a broad assumption. But still, others feel that it is enough, as this is just another finding in a long list of studies depicting similar outcomes.

One extensive survey, released directly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluated nearly 170 elementary schools with school mask mandates. Overall, the study found that only 21 percent of those with mandates reported lower transmission rates than those who made masking optional. Likewise, David Leonhardt wrote an article for the New York Times last May, which cited a plethora of studies that also depicted that school mask mandates were ineffective. 

On the other hand, many studies have shown that school mask mandates actually did prevent the spread of COVID. US News released another CDC study on the highly contagious spread of the Delta variant in schools, finding that overall, schools requiring face coverings had a quarter less of a rate of infection and transmission as opposed to their mask-optional counterparts. A similar study conducted by Duke University’s ABC Science Collaborative analyzing 61 schools in nine states found that mask-required schools were 72 percent less likely to severely spread COVD than others without a mandate. 

school mask mandates

Because COVID protocols have been debated so heavily and polarized into heated political debates, it’s hard to tell real scientific evidence from possible bias. By now, most Americans have developed a strict preference on whether school mask mandates worked or not, and while this new North Dakota study is another tally for those opposed, it does in truth, do little to prove that overall masking is ineffective. For now, the debate rages on, and you can expect to see plenty of more research findings in the years to come painting a broader picture as to whether or not masking up may have deterred the COVID virus from spreading.