The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended Monday that all kids, teachers, and staff over the age of two wear masks in schools to guard against COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.
The network of 67,000 doctors and other children’s health specialists also said it is “highly advocating” COVID-19 immunizations for everybody who is eligible in recently updated recommendations for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.
“The pandemic has taken a heartbreaking toll on children, and it’s not just their education that has suffered but their mental, emotional and physical health,” Dr. Sonja O’Leary, chairwoman of the AAP Council on School Health, said in a release.
“Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.”
The AAP said it is recommending universal masking because a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines and masks are “proven to reduce transmission of the virus and to protect those who are not vaccinated.”
Dr. Sara Bode, chairwoman-elect of the AAP Council on School Health Executive Committee, stated that universal masking is “the most effective technique for creating uniform messages and expectations among kids without the added burden of needing to check everyone’s vaccination status.”
The organisation claims that masks in schools are especially important in areas of the country where vaccination rates are low.
The CDC issued a warning last week that the Delta strain of the new coronavirus is spreading across the country, particularly in communities with poor immunisation rates.
Fully vaccinated pupils, teachers, and staff, on the other hand, are not required to wear masks at school, according to the government agency.