SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on mask wearing kept Gov. Kristi Noem’s Twitter account busy with four Twitter posts at around 3 p.m.
The CDC said this week that masks should be worn by all in schools age two and up, even if they are vaccinated. The CDC also said that fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in public venues to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant.
Noem was ready to respond on Wednesday including a post that said, “It is government’s role to guide the public by providing them the science, facts, and data to make their own educated decisions. I will not be issuing any statewide directive either requiring or prohibiting masks in our schools.”
Iowa and its Republican Governor Kim Reynolds took a different approach in May. The state approved a law prohibiting mask mandates in schools.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Health recommended schools follow CDC guidelines.
The phrase “science, facts and data” may be familiar to the public during the pandemic as the Governor has used it to explain that she is focused on those three key areas to determine her response to COVID-19.
In another school related mask post Noem said, “My position on mask mandates has not changed. School leaders should consider the full impact on learning and social development that masks can have on children.”
Although Noem said in a post she would not issue a statewide directive requiring or prohibiting masks in schools, two Twitter posts about where school should take place come across a bit like directives. “School administrators should ensure their policies are consistent, sustainable, and prevent disruption to our students’ education. South Dakota kept our kids in school all last year, and this next school year should be no different,” Noem said in her post.
And the other post: “I expect our schools to remain focused on in-person learning for students this fall.”
Noem criticized the CDC for changing its guidelines.
The CDC has said some of the reasons for the change in the mask guideline include the pace at which the Delta variant is spreading, the severity of cases and the possibility that fully vaccinated people can spread it.
“With growing spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are once again rising, largely among unvaccinated people,” three health officials with the Kaiser Family Foundation said.
Various health officials including a University of Washington health official have said that as long as certain portions of the population are unvaccinated other variants will emerge.