Why is NYC’s arts community still punishing kids by forcing them to mask?

After 30 months of brutal restrictions on our city’s kids’ inordinate fear of susceptibility to COVID-19, the art world somehow won’t stop. While city- and state-enforced ordinances have gone down in history, the mandate to wear masks and vaccinate children remains in place in many museums, theaters and other cultural venues.

When there is little we can do, parents like me often learn about the instructions through school notes on class trips. First, the good news: your kids will have the chance to see a show at the Alvin Ailey or New Victory theaters – hooray! Oh, but by the way, he or she will be asked to “cover up”. Often, cover-ups are framed as something children must do “out of respect.”

Of course, these cultural institutions have parents in the bucket. Because while New York City public school children ages 5 and older are exempt from wearing masks on March 7 (the mayor’s mandate for 2- to 4-year-olds to wear masks doesn’t end until June 13), these are partially funded by publicly funded Private estates can continue to enforce whatever mitigation they choose to be ineffective – with neither consequence nor incentive to return child visitors to normal.

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When it comes to perpetuating COVID hysteria, museums are as backwards as children’s theaters. MoMath, for example, still requires masks. The Jewish Museum has waived its mask policy, but requires groups visiting schools to wear masks. El Museo del Barrio continues to make everyone wear masks. Whitney is only required to wear a mask in the Children’s Open Studio (!).

What does it take for art to follow science? So far, Florida and many European countries don’t even recommend vaccinations for healthy children. However, Alvin Ailey Dance requires little ones to sign up for boosters.

On March 7, 2022, New York City public school children ages 5 and older will no longer wear masks.
On March 7, 2022, New York City public school children ages 5 and older will no longer wear masks.
Getty Images

Children under the age of 6 are never covered in Europe, and children under the age of 12 are rarely covered. Before the pandemic, Americans often praised the European child protection model. But when it comes to COVID, it’s as if Europe doesn’t exist.

Nor can the mainstream admit that prolonged masking of children and the adults around them is clearly harmful. Of course, even the most mask-obsessed parent has to intuitively know that there are real costs to covering a child’s face.

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A U.K. survey published a few days ago found that 75% of teachers reported that masks muffle sound, making it harder for children with special needs to communicate and hindering quieter children from learning. Masks make it especially difficult for hearing-impaired children who need to read lips and special-needs children who struggle to take nonverbal cues. The children said the covering made them anxious.

Who is responsible for these expanded anti-child, anti-science predatory policies that exploit captive audiences in experiences that should be sublime and elevating?

On March 7, 2022, New York City public school children ages 5 and older will no longer wear masks.
The Jewish Museum has waived its mask policy, but requires groups visiting schools to wear masks.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Just a year ago, Broadway required children under 12 to wear masks and present a negative COVID test to attend, despite emergency use authorization for children’s vaccines. The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall banned them outright, relegating children to true viral vector status. Young musicians and opera lovers miss out on two priceless years of live performances even as their peers in other states live the best lives.

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When I called Alvin Ailey to ask why children were forced to cover their faces in a school play, which was supposed to be social, interactive, and fun, the short answer was “what’s the big deal, it’s just a mask!” When I went further On questioning, explaining that wearing a mask can do more harm than good, especially for children, I was told that if I didn’t comply, I would keep the kids at home and skip the show altogether. It also meant missing a day of school, but Ailey still wasn’t intimidated.

This hurts my core. As a lifelong patron of the arts, I can’t fathom the logic — and the casual indifference to restoring the joy, wonder, and fundamental connection to the arts that children need now more than ever.

Children have been through so much. When did the abuse stop?

Natalya Murakhver is the co-founder of Restore Childhood, a nonprofit organization working to end COVID-19 missions for children and restore sports, arts and academics in the United States.she is giving birth “15 days. . “, A documentary about the lockdown.

Twitter: @AppletoZucchini

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