Despite new guidance, Biden admin still requiring toddlers in Head Start to remain masked

End the federal mask mandate for the Head Start program. That’s the message congressional Republicans are sending to the Biden administration.

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik sent the letter on behalf of 24 of her colleagues to President Biden last week, demanding the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) end all mask mandates nationwide. 

The letter points back to the CDC’s decision in February to revise mask mandates for indoor activities due to rapidly declining cases in most of the country. 

After the CDC’s decision in February, the ACF let Head Start know that mask compliance was not being evaluated. So without clear guidance to end the mask mandate, Head Start programs around the nation continue to enforce it even though they serve a very low-risk demographic – children under six. 

“Young children should never have been forced to wear masks, as they are at the least risk of serious complications from COVID-19 and could suffer the greatest developmental harm from having their faces covered,” the letter reads. “Yet your administration’s authoritarian drive to impose mask and vaccine mandates on the American people included the issuing of a rule which requires universal masking in Head Start programs for all individuals aged 2 years and older.”

Stefanik recently appeared on Fox News, shredding the Biden administration for its “wrong and harmful policy more rooted in politics than science.” She also stressed that toddlers should never be forced to wear masks, and that the administration is “failing to recognize the science and keeping forced mask mandates on young children in Head Start programs at the expense of their development.”

“Joe Biden must put children above politics, and let parents decide what is best for their children,” Stefanik added.

Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a similar letter, which he signed with 22 other attorneys general. It points out that even the most restrictive states in the nation, such as Oregon and California, have dropped mask mandates from schools.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has walked back its masking guidance, but the Biden administration thinks they have the authority to force 5-year-old children to wear a mask,” Paxton added in a statement. “The only thing consistent about this administration’s policies regarding COVID-19 is that they are inconsistent.”