The American Academy of Pediatricsthat all children over two should wear masks in school this fall, regardless of vaccination status, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues nationwide. The , which strongly support the return to in-person learning in the coming months, reflect a multi-pronged approach to see students return safely to the classroom more than a year and a half after the pandemic began. “We need to prioritize getting alongside their friends and teachers ― and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” said Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health, said in a statement.
“Combining layers of, masking, and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.” The body also recommended that parents ensure their children are caught up on they may have missed during the pandemic and that schools provide adequate indoor ventilation and increased resources for testing, quarantining, and cleaning when positive virus cases emerge. Vaccines for children in the U.S. are currently , meaning many students will likely return to classrooms without inoculations this fall. (The AAP’s guidelines include exclusions for students with medical conditions or disabilities.)
The AAP pointed to those restrictions in its recommendations as well as the inability of many schools to monitor students’ vaccination status, particularly in communities withrates. The policy guidelines reflect ongoing , particularly after the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus became the dominant strain in the United States. Case numbers are rising in , and some regions have decided to reinstate mask mandates — including — amid ongoing calls from public health officials urging citizens to vaccinate.
and death associated with the disease, and the current immunizations protect well against the delta strain. Less than half of the county is fully vaccinated. Almost all of the nation’s recent , prompting concern from health officials about a stubborn stall in the level of injections. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said this that he expected more areas to reinstate COVID-19 prevention measures, including mask requirements, on a rolling basis as more transmissible variants cause case spikes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said in May that fully vaccinated people could remove their masks in most settings amid a vaccination blitz. Still, thehas upended some regions’ plans. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Monday on CNN that the , considering a large swath of the country remained unvaccinated, particularly during the spread of the delta variant.
“When you have a degree of viral dynamics in the community, and you have a substantial proportion of the population that is unvaccinated, you want to go the extra step, the extra mile to make sure that there’s not a lot of transmissions, even breakthroughindividuals,” he said. “I think that the American Academy of Pediatrics, you know, they’re a thoughtful group, they analyze the situation, and if they feel that that’s the way to go, I think that’s reasonable. Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter.