Masks Cut Covid Spread in Schools, Study Finds

In a so-called natural experiment, two school districts in Boston maintained masking after mandates had been lifted in others, enabling a unique comparison.

Masks have been a cultural flash point since the start of the pandemic, and mask mandates in schools have been especially incendiary. Critics have argued that there is no strong evidence to prove that masks slow the spread of Covid, and that in any case children weren’t wearing the right kinds of masks or weren’t wearing them properly.

Now a research paper details a so-called natural experiment that occurred when all but two school districts in the greater Boston area lifted mask requirements in the spring. Researchers took that opportunity to make a direct comparison of the spread of Covid in masking and non-masking schools.

The bottom line: Masking mandates were linked with significantly reduced numbers of Covid cases in schools.