AAP Says All Children Should Mask Up This Fall Even If Vaccinated
Breaking news in what seems to be a never-ending pandemic. The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday released new guidance that takes a stricter position than the guidelines issued earlier this month by the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
The AAP released new guidance for schools in which they strongly support in-person learning but recommend universal masking in schools of everyone over the age of 2 regardless of their vaccination status.
The AAP, the leading organization of pediatricians in the nation, said it’s recommending universal masking because so many students are not yet eligible for coronavirus vaccines. Plus, masks have proven to reduce transmission and offer some protection to those who have not been vaccinated.
The AAP is calling this new guidance "a layered approach." Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health, had this to say:
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. Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.
It is also the AAP's recommendation that school staff should also wear masks at school unless they have a medical or developmental condition that prohibits this. The AAP's guidance is markedly different than the CDC's which also prioritized in-person learning but advised that fully vaccinated teachers, staff, and students don't need to wear masks at school.
This new guidance comes at a time when safety risks are growing as new more contagious COVID-19 variants have emerged that also present the risk of potential worsening illness.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged the differing guidance could cause some confusion but noted that the CDC’s guidance allows for local states, cities, and other agencies to make their own judgments.
For more information, check out the new guidance page on the AAP's website here.