All children should wear masks in school this fall, even if vaccinated, according to pediatrics group
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended Monday that all children over age 2 wear masks when they return to school this year, regardless of vaccination status.
The AAP, which said it is important for children to return to personal learning this year, recommends that school staff also wear masks. The AAP calls the new guideline a ‘layered approach’.
“We must prioritize getting children back to school, along with their friends and their teachers – and we all have a role to play in making sure this is done safely,” said Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on school health. “Combining layers of protection, including vaccinations, masks and clean hand hygiene, makes personal learning safe and possible for everyone.”
The AAP said universal masking is necessary because much of the student population has not been vaccinated, and it is difficult for schools to determine who that is as new variants are emerging that can spread more easily among children.
Children 12 years and older are eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations in the US. And the FDA said last week that emergency approval for vaccines for children under 12 could come early to mid-winter.
dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, said on CNN Monday the guidance makes sense.
“If you have some level of viral dynamism in the community, and you have a significant portion of the population that hasn’t been vaccinated, you really want to take that extra step, that extra step to make sure there isn’t a lot of transmission.” , even breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals,” he said.
“I think the American Academy of Pediatrics, you know, is a thoughtful group. They analyze the situation and if they think that’s the way to go, I think it’s a reasonable thing to do,” Fauci added. .
Universal masking will also protect students and staff from other respiratory illnesses that can keep kids out of school, the AAP said.
The AAP also said campers should wear masks during indoor activities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month recommended that vaccinated students should not wear masks in classrooms.
dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told MSNBC that perhaps the CDC was trying to be a little more lenient, allowing people to make their own judgments “depending on the circumstances at your school and in your community.”
But he said he understands where the AAP comes from.
“They won’t be popular with parents and kids who are tired of masks, but you know what? The virus doesn’t care that we’re sick of masks,” Collins said. “The virus has another version of its great feast for itself. And to the extent that we can crush that by doing something that might be a little awkward, a little inconvenient… if it looks like it’s going to help, put then put the mask back on for a while.”
What has not changed are the guidelines for children under 2 years of age, which state that it is dangerous for newborns and infants to wear masks as they can pose a choking risk, and babies and toddlers may try to take them off, reducing their chance. on catching the virus.
All children should be overtaken by vaccines they may have missed to get into the midst of the pandemic, such as the flu shot, the AAP said.
“The last thing we want when we get out of this pandemic is an outbreak of another vaccine-preventable disease,” O’Leary said. “Now is the time for all of us to work together to keep our children healthy and safe.”