Pediatrician group recommends in-school masks for all kids over 2 amid Delta variant concerns

Masked students
Photo credit Getty Images

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday released updated guidelines recommending that everyone over the age of 2 should wear masks when schools reopen in the fall, regardless of their vaccination status.

The universal masking guidelines were recommended over the fact that a large number of the student population isn't eligible for vaccination.

“There are many children and others who cannot be vaccinated,” said Sara Bode, MD, FAAP, chair-person elect of the AAP Council on School Health Executive Committee. “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.”

According to the AAP, research consistently shows that when masks and other protocols are enforced, opening schools in person doesn't increase community COVID transmission.

“We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers -- and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” said Sonja O’Leary, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Council on School Health. “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. Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.”

The AAP's recommendation contradicts the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID cases are rising in all 50 states, especially among the unvaccinated.