To mask or not? Indiana parents weigh in on calls for kids to wear masks in school

INDIANAPOLIS — Calls for children to wear masks in class have received new impetus after the American Association of Pediatricians said everyone ages 2 and older should wear a face covering in school.

dr. John Christenson, medical director of infection prevention at Riley Hospital for Children, agrees.

“These children have the potential to contract the virus and then take it home or spread it in schools to teachers and staff,” he said.

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Christenson said masks in school are about protecting children, and those to whom they could potentially pass COVID-19. Especially people who have not yet been vaccinated.

“If you look at the people being hospitalized right now, 99% of them are unvaccinated people,” Christenson said. “If you look at the people who are currently dying from the coronavirus, 99% of them are unvaccinated people.”

Christenson said this call for masks in the classroom is certainly fueled by the spike in the Delta variant.

Few people know more about the dangers of Delta than Anisha Gray. 10 of her family members recently got COVID-19, and some got the Delta variant.

“The new strand is something else,” Gray said.

Fortunately, all of her family members recovered, but Gray said this definitely shook her family up. She said they are all for kids who wear masks in schools.

“I think it’s still okay for them to wear masks because you don’t know if that new strand… if they’re taking it home or taking it to school,” she said.

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Rainel Castillo said he wants to make sure his kids learn in school this year, and if that means wearing masks, that’s fine with him.

“I’d rather they get their education in school with a teacher, rather than virtual learning,” Castillo said.

On Tuesday, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that the CDC still recommends school districts make the best decision based on the dispersion of the community where they live.

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“We continue to recommend schools to implement layered prevention strategies to protect those who are not fully vaccinated and to encourage vaccination for those who qualify,” she said.

Gray said she hopes more people get vaccinated and those who still don’t keep wearing their masks so that life can return to normal.

“I love that I can go to the store, come to the park and not have to wear a mask,” she said.

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