The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended Monday that all children over two wear masks in school this fall, regardless of vaccination status, as thecontinues nationwide. The guidelines, 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 began.
“We need to prioritize getting children back into― and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health, said. “Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, 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 vaccinations they may have missed during the pandemic and that schools provide adequate indoor ventilation and increased resources for testing, quarantining, and cleaning when positive cases of the. (The include exclusions for students with medical conditions or disabilities.)
Vaccines for children in the U.S. are currently authorized only for those 12 and older, meaning many. The AAP pointed to those restrictions in its recommendations, as well as the inability of many schools to monitor students’ , particularly in communities with low vaccination rates.
The policy guidelines reflect ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, particularly after the highly transmissibleof the virus became the dominant strain in the United States. Case numbers are rising in every state, and some regions have decided to reinstate — including Los Angeles County — 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. Almost all of the nation’s recent , prompting concern from health officials about a stubborn stall in the level of injections. Less than .
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said thisthat 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, the has upended some regions’ plans. Dr. , the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Monday on CNN that the AAP’s recommendations were sensible,e 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, evenamong vaccinated individuals,” he said. “I think that the American Academy of Pediatrics, they’re a thoughtful group; they analyze the situation, and if they feel that that’s the way to go, I think that’s a reasonable thing to do.