Reopening Schools: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends school masks for everyone over age 2, regardless of vaccinations

Reopening Schools: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends school masks for everyone over age 2, regardless of vaccinations

“When you have a degree of viral dynamics in the community and you have a substantial proportion of the population that is unvaccinated, you really want to go the extra step, the extra mile, to make sure that there is not a lot of transmission, even breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals,” Fauci told CNN on Monday. AAP’s more cautious mask guidance is understandable, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The differing guidance could cause some confusion, Fauci acknowledged while noting the CDC’s guidance allows for local states, cities and other agencies to make their own judgments.

“This is why it’s important to use every tool in our toolkit to safeguard children from COVID-19. Universal masking is one of those tools, and has been proven effective in protecting people against other respiratory diseases, as well. It’s also the most effective strategy to create consistent messages and expectations among students without the added burden of needing to monitor everyone’s vaccination status.” “There are many children and others who cannot be vaccinated,” Dr. Sara Bode, chair-elect of the AAP Council on School Health Executive Committee, said Monday in a statement.

The AAP’s recommendation on universal masking is different from guidance by CDC, which also prioritized in-person learning but advised that fully vaccinated students, teachers and staff don’t need to wear masks at school. Reasons for this recommendation include but are not limited to: a significant proportion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccination; masking protects those who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 and reduces transmission; and potential difficulty in monitoring or enforcing mask policies for those who are not vaccinated.

And the AAP “amplifies” the CDC’s other recommendations on ventilation, testing, quarantining, cleaning and disinfection, the pediatrics group said in its statement. The AAP also recommended that all eligible individuals get vaccinated; that adequate and timely testing resources are available; and that strategies that are developed can be revised and adapted depending on the situation in the community. Aside from the masking guidance, the AAP and CDC agreed on the importance of in-person learning.

AAP and CDC align on need for in-person school “I think that the American Academy of Pediatrics (is) a thoughtful group. They analyze the situation, and if they feel that that’s the way to go, I think that is a reasonable thing to do,” he said.

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