masked teacher sitting on floor showing masked students something on a tablet
Does Science Support Lifting School Mask Mandates?
The CDC has given the OK to lift indoor mask mandates in much of the US, and a growing number of states no longer require face coverings in schools. But most experts agree that masks slow school spread of SARS-CoV-2, and whether now is the right time to allow teachers and students to unmask is a matter of debate.
ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, KALI9
Does Science Support Lifting School Mask Mandates?
Does Science Support Lifting School Mask Mandates?

The CDC has given the OK to lift indoor mask mandates in much of the US, and a growing number of states no longer require face coverings in schools. But most experts agree that masks slow school spread of SARS-CoV-2, and whether now is the right time to allow teachers and students to unmask is a matter of debate.

The CDC has given the OK to lift indoor mask mandates in much of the US, and a growing number of states no longer require face coverings in schools. But most experts agree that masks slow school spread of SARS-CoV-2, and whether now is the right time to allow teachers and students to unmask is a matter of debate.

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, KALI9

respiratory disease

Two emergency responders stand near a barricade on a street in New York
Q&A: Health of 9/11 First Responders 20 Years Later
Amanda Heidt | Sep 7, 2021
The Scientist spoke with Rachel Zeig-Owens, the director of epidemiology for the World Trade Center Health Program, about what scientists have learned after two decades of studying illness and disease among survivors.
An illustrated schematic with a blue background describes how oxygenated perfluorocarbon can rescue respiratory failure in mammals.
Mammals Can Use Their Intestines to Breathe
Abby Olena | May 14, 2021
Researchers show that both mice and pigs are capable of oxygenating their blood via the colon—a capacity that, if shared by humans, could be leveraged in the clinic to minimize the need for mechanical ventilation.
The Epigenetic Origins of Allergy and Asthma
The Scientist Speaks Ep. 15 - The Epigenetic Origins of Allergy and Asthma
The Scientist Creative Services Team | Feb 26, 2021
Epigenetic marks acquired from environmental exposures throughout life influence human health and may even transcend generations.
Q&A: Pollution Linked to 15 Percent Increase in COVID-19 Deaths
Lisa Winter | Nov 10, 2020
Jos Lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry explains how fine particulate might contribute to deaths from COVID-19.
a hand making a "stop" signal at an incoming coronavirus particle
Scientists’ Advice for Ways to Ward Off the Coronavirus
Shawna Williams | Oct 9, 2020
We asked experts for measures people can take that may help boost defenses against COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.
First Responders: SARS-CoV-2 and the Immune System
The Scientist Creative Services Team | Oct 29, 2020
Angela Rasmussen and Ya-Chi Ho explore the positive and negative aspects of the host immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and discuss how this knowledge influences therapeutic benefits.
Coronavirus Closeup, 1964
Ashley Yeager | Sep 1, 2020
Electron microscopy revealed that a deadly disease of birds was not a form of flu, but a different type of virus entirely.
Disturbed Microbes Contribute to Lung Damage from Oxygen Treatment
Ruth Williams | Aug 12, 2020
In humans, higher oxygen levels during ventilation are tied to an altered bacterial composition in the lungs, and mouse experiments show a causative link.
gold spots on a blue background
A Brief History of Human Coronaviruses
Shawna Williams | Jun 2, 2020
Milder, cold-causing members of this pathogenic viral family long remained under the radar, although they aren’t entirely harmless.
Image of the Day: Defective Cilia
Amy Schleunes | Apr 7, 2020
Super-resolution imaging identifies abnormalities in the hair-like protrusions on a cell’s surface and may help facilitate earlier detection of primary ciliary dyskinesia.
Coronavirus Test Kits May Yield Inconclusive Results
Amy Schleunes | Feb 13, 2020
Some US states are waiting for the CDC to send replacement enzymes necessary for carrying out SARS-CoV-2 assays.
young man vaping
Scientists Study Vaping’s Harm as Second Death Reported
Nicoletta Lanese | Sep 5, 2019
In light of recent reports of electronic-cigarette–related illness and death, UNC Chapel Hill professor Robert Tarran discusses the dangerous effects of e-liquids on the lungs.
Global Air Quality Crisis
Bob Grant | Mar 26, 2014
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 7 million people died in 2012 due to air pollution, making it the number-one environmental risk on the planet.