On Jan. 5, Dr. Richard Wein, chairman of the Alaska State Medical Board, told the Sitka School Board that it’s mandatory masking policy is “nonsense” because nearly every mask used in area schools do not actually work to stop the spread of Covid.
Dr. Wein also recounted a Jan. 4 meeting he had with Alaska’s chief epidemiologist, Dr. Joe McLaughlin, in which he said McLaughlin mentioned that cloth masks provide no benefit against viruses.
Here’s what Dr. Wein told Sitka School Board members:
“Doctor Joe McLaughlin . . . mentioned that masks are about filtration and the only mask out there that does filtration is the N95, and that mask has to be fit tested and you have to be taught to be able to use it. So, if you really want to have a mitigation, you need to teach the staff and the students how to use their masks. It’s not just a well-fitting mask. There are specific guidelines on how masks actually fit and how they work. It’s filtration and N95s are the only ones that that are able to do it. The bottom line is Joe McLaughlin said it’s filtration, it’s N95, cloth doesn’t work. The surgical masks that I’m seeing here are poorly fitting masks. They will not work, and I think that if you’re looking for an authoritative notion, Joe McLaughlin says it doesn’t work. If you want to do it here it’s over with the masks. They do not work. You see the spikes. It won’t affect Omicron. It won’t affect the viruses.”
Dr. Wein urged the school board to accept the facts, adding that he would gladly speak with the members in order to convince them that mandatory school masking was not the right approach.
Earlier in the meeting, School Board Member Andrew Hames, speaking about Covid mitigation policies said, “I don’t know what normal looks like.”
Dr. Wein offered this response.
“You know what normal looks like? A smile, and these things can be removed without any effect on mitigation,” he said. “And each one of you do not have an appropriate mask on, and none of the students do, because they’re not being taught.”
Dr. Wein urged the board to be true educators and teach students how to “analyze data and then come up with reasonable decisions.”
“Stop this nonsense,” he concluded. “Make it voluntary and I think everyone will be much happier. And then you may see a few more smiles around the school, because the kids definitely don’t know how to use masks.”