Former Teacher of the Year Manuel Aceves: Mask mandates caused catastrophic learning loss
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Monday on KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego, San Diego Unified School District Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne made a shocking comment regarding students concerned about their new mask mandate.
We know for a fact that young, healthy children have essentially zero risk to the coronavirus. But over two years since the pandemic began, and the teachers unions still seem to have power over those leading our school district.
Both Richard Barrera and Whitehurst-Payne used California’s arbitrary color-coded tier system as justification for re-implementing an indoor mask mandate. But they conveniently left out the many studies that found the negative consequences of mask mandates to be much more concerning. Learning loss for young students in their social maturity and speech skills can be directly attributed to the mask mandates.
Nevertheless, SDUSD Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne is standing behind the mask mandate, without regard for the negative consequence. Monday, she told KUSI’s Logan Byrnes that students who are uncomfortable with the mask mandate should simply not return to class. That comment has made her the target of criticism from across the world, as the interview has attracted over 600,000 views on Twitter alone.
Former La Mesa-Spring Valley District Teacher of the Year, Manuel Aceves, was one of thousands to voice their concerns in the comments. Aceves wrote, “this is truly horrific!!! As a teacher of 31 years, the learning loss has been catastrophic to many of my students. The cloth masks gave a false sense of security and enabled some of my 6th graders to hide.” A second tweet read, “it was not uncommon for students to still wear the masks because they didn’t like the way their nose looked or to hide their acne.”
Aceves just retired from the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District after 31 years of teaching, but his love for the students did not retire with him. Aceves was named the District Teacher of the Year in 2019, and his wife, Andee, was the California Teacher of the Year in 2008.
Aceves joined KUSI’s Logan Byrnes on Good Evening San Diego to further explain his shock and outrage to San Diego Unified’s mask mandate, and share what negative consequences resulted from these mandates in the classroom.
Aceves said one of the most important unintended consequences of the mask mandates was building a two-tiered education system, in-person and remote learning. He explained, “after a year and a half of teaching remotely, they are not equal.”