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America’s Mask Debate Shifts to Schools

Championed by health experts and flouted by the president, the humble face covering has become an emblem of America’s fractured response to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the mask debate is heading to school.

Who must wear them? Who will provide them? And who will solve the umteen logistical riddles they pose, from cleaning procedures and accommodating students with special needs to redirecting distracted children who tug, scratch, and remove their masks during lessons?

Those are just a few of the questions facing schools as they feverishly plan to reopen even as the virus surges in parts of the country and President Trump threatens sanctions against states that keep students out of classrooms. The answers, like much else about the nation’s chaotic response to the pandemic, have been a head-scratching hodgepodge.

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