With a new school year about to begin and multiple variants of COVID-19 on the rise at once, pediatricians have a prescription for Florida schools: universal masking.
The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics released an unequivocal case for face-covering and distancing on Thursday.
Most important of the pediatricians’ case is the fact that vaccines are not available to many children who attend K-12 schools.
“Since children under 12 are still ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccine will most likely not be available for this age group until the winter of 2021, most children are still at risk of being infected with the coronavirus. and transmitting the disease. infection to others,” the group claimed, noting that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend masking in schools.
“The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) supports the continued, universal use of masks and physical distancing in schools by all individuals, including students, faculty and staff through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Masking should complement the continuation of testing protocols in schools to reduce the spread of infection. Lastly, and most importantly, FCAAP recommends that all vaccine-eligible children, teachers and staff at schools should be vaccinated.”
The plea for mandatory masks comes the same week after DeSantis held a roundtable in which all panellists argued against masks in schools.
This should definitely not be suggested,” DeSantis said, pointing out that a special session might be needed to “protect these kids who just want to be able to breathe freely.”
DeSantis discussed the Jacksonville Classical Academy, a charter school he attended that went mask-free last year and “let kids be kids” without too much “extreme social distancing.”
“The results were, I don’t know if they had more, but they probably had fewer COVID cases than other schools that did the opposite,” the governor argued.
Panelists took an even harder line.
“My position is simple. Masking children is child abuse,” said Dr. marking McDonald, a psychiatrist from California.
DeSantis went on to note the “unspeakable burdens” of virus precautions and expressed concern about “long-term implications” for the young.
While DeSantis aims for a normal year for children in schools, the pandemic continues to wreak abnormal havoc. The Florida Department of Health reported 6,999 cases aged 12 and under in the week ending July 22. 7,346 more cases were confirmed for those between 13 and 19.
Tellingly, DeSantis had talks with House and Senate leadership on Thursday. He suggested legislative interest in a ban on vaccine and mask mandates at a special session, and the lines of communication are clearly open.
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