In just a few weeks, children all across the country will prepare to go back to school—but a new statement from pediatric specialists may not result in a mask-free school year. According to the American Academy Of Pediatrics, all children who are returning to classrooms this fall should wear their masks, whether they have been fully vaccinated or not.
@NBCNews reports, while many parents were hoping that their children’s upcoming school year would be back to normal without the use of masks, that apparently is not the wisest decision, as stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP recently strongly recommended that all children over the age of 2 wear their masks as they return to school this fall, regardless of their current vaccination status. This mask-wearing recommendation also includes school staff members, as the AAP says that it’s crucial for in-person learning to fully return and that the suggested precautions of wearing masks is a “layered approach” to safety.
Sonia O’Leary, Chair of the AAP Council on School Health, explained the AAP’s stance on children wearing masks. “We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers — and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely. Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking, and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone,” she said.
Additionally, the AAP further explained that since a large majority of the U.S. student population is still not currently vaccinated, universal mask-wearing in schools is necessary because it’s hard for schools to determine who is vaccinated and who isn’t—and the new COVID-19 variants currently emerging could make the spread more easily among children.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration stated that the emergency authorization for vaccines for children under 12 could be available early next year.
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