South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Tuesday said she will push for schools to stay open this fall, but disparaged any requirements for children to wear masks in classrooms.

As parents and school boards cautiously weigh the risks and benefits of schools reopening, the Republican governor emphasized the educational and social upside of a return to in-person learning, citing research that COVID-19 poses less of a threat to children. But Noem appears selective in the research she is using for her decisions: She has pointed to studies and recommendations that indicate the health risks from the virus are less than feared, while also downplaying scientific findings that show masks could help prevent the spread of the disease.

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