“Our findings contribute to a growing body of literature which suggests school-based mask mandates have limited to no impact on the case rates of COVID-19 among K-12 students,” researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of California–Davis said in a preprint study published on Research Square.
Researchers evaluated two school districts in Fargo, North Dakota, in which one had a mask mandate and the other did not during the 2021–2022 academic year.
“We observed no significant difference between student case rates while the districts had differing masking policies nor while they had the same mask policies,” they noted, adding that the “impact of school-based mask mandates on COVID-19 transmission in children is not fully established” amid mandates nationwide.
A number of other studies have found no link between mask mandates and a drop in COVID-19 cases.
In one study published in May, researchers found that COVID-19 mask and vaccine rules implemented by Cornell University had limited impact against the transmission of Omicron in late 2021 and 2022.
“Cornell’s experience shows that traditional public health interventions were not a match for Omicron. While vaccination protected against severe illness, it was not sufficient to prevent rapid spread, even when combined with other public health measures including widespread surveillance testing,” the paper said.
And researchers in Spain found that mask mandates for children in Spain weren’t linked to a lower rate of COVID-19 cases or transmission.
In an evaluation of schoolchildren, kids aged 6 and older in Catalonia were required to wear masks once school reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers said.
Researchers compared the incidence of COVID-19 in older children to younger children to try to determine whether the mandates had been effective in the aim of reducing transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, in schools.