New guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics said everyone older than 2 years of age should wear masks at school this fall, whether they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 or not.
The AAP is calling this new guidance a “layered approach” in order to get students back into the classroom. This approach outline that school staff should also wear masks.
“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, chair of the AAP Council on School Health. “Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.”
The group states that masking across the board is important as a lot of the younger student population is not eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, only children 12 and older are.
The new variants hitting the U.S. is another factor in why the AAP says universal masking is necessary, saying it may spread more easily among children.
“There are many children and others who cannot be vaccinated,” said Dr. Sara Bode, 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.”
The AAP also recommends that all children get caught up on vaccines they may have missed getting during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the flu shot.
Click here to read the full text of the AAP’s new guidance,