A significant percentage of parents whose children wore masks in school during the last year believe it harmed their education, social interactions and mental health, according to a POLITICO-Harvard survey.

The poll’s findings come as the Biden administration monitors events in Europe, where BA.2, a subvariant of Omicron, is wreaking havoc, and White House officials warn that masks may be necessary if Covid-19 cases increase in the United States.

That would be an incredibly tough sell to parents of school-aged children, according to the survey. More than 4 in 10 believe mask-wearing harmed their children’s overall scholastic experience, compared to 11 percent who said it helped. Nearly half of parents said masks made no difference.

Forty-six percent of parents said mask-wearing hurt their child’s social learning and interactions, and 39 percent told pollsters it affected their child’s mental and emotional health.

“Even if I’m in a Democratic state or district, I’d pay attention because there are a substantial number of independent parents who think the policy is hurting their children,” said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis, emeritus, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “If you say something hurts my children, you’re going to feel strongly about it. … Anything that has an impact on your family has a disproportionate impact on how you think of things.”