An email received by the America First Legal foundation following a freedom of information request suggests that the Biden administration decided to mandate the wearing of face masks for schoolchildren following polling showing that the move would be politically popular.
The email concerned was sent in August, 2021, by Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), to senior administration officials including CDC director Rochelle Walensky, NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. Surgeon-General Vivek Murthy, and members of the White House COVID response team.
"Hi folks, this is our Monitor Report on kids, parents, and schools as promised," the email begins. "We have the scoop on the issue of the moment, masks in schools. A very solid majority favor school masking requirements (63%) with 36% opposing. That 36% is made up of the usual suspects and of course is large enough to make some trouble in parts of the country and generate news."
Altman also noted that, "Asking unvaccinated students/staff to wear masks in school" was even "more broadly popular than vaccine mandates."
He also dismissed concerns that there could be backlash if masking mandates were imposed, writing, "Prohibitions against schools wearing masks (which seven states now have, may only be a political winner in deep-red communities."
Regarding vaccination itself, Altman recommended that pediatricians be rallied "in a campaign ... as they are the most trusted source for all parents ... concerns about long term impacts on fertility remain an issue to go after."
Three days after the email was sent out, the CDC recommended universal masking for all children from the age of two.