The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new Covid-19 guidelines for schools on Monday, recommending that everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask this fall, even if they’ve been vaccinated. Exceptions may be made for people with health or developmental conditions that complicate wearing a mask, the group said.
The general recommendation to wear masks differs from guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month, which recommended wearing masks only in schools for unvaccinated people over the age of 2. Those guidelines imply that children and fully immunized adults will not need to wear masks in the classroom – although they also say that individual schools are free to perform universal mask-wearing duties. pine.
In many other ways, however, these two sets of instructions are similar. The AAP, like the CDC, emphasizes the importance of returning to face-to-face learning.
Dr Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health, said: “We need to make it a priority to get kids back into school with their friends and teachers – and we all do. play a role in making sure that happens safely.” statement.
Like the CDC, the AAP has recommended a “layered” approach that combines multiple measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. In addition to common mask-wearing, those measures include vaccinations, improved ventilation, virus testing, quarantine, and cleaning and disinfection, the group said.
The AAP gave several reasons for its popular mask recommendation.
The group notes that many students are too young to be eligible for the vaccine, which is only allowed for those 12 years of age and older. And universal face coverings can reduce overall transmission of the virus, helping to protect unvaccinated people.
The group also cited concerns about more viral variants being transmitted and the possibility of low vaccination rates in the surrounding community, which could increase the risk of an outbreak at a particular school. The AAP recommends universal mask wearing because it can be difficult to verify whether an individual student or staff member has been immunized.
Several state and local officials have announced that they won’t require universal mask wearing in the fall, and at least eight states have banned those regulations.
The AAP Guidelines stopped recommending vaccine mandates altogether, but said they may eventually be needed. “It may become necessary for schools to collect staff and student Covid-19 vaccine information, and for schools to require Covid-19 vaccinations for in-person learning,” the guidelines said. said.