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Kids may still want to wear face masks in school, expert says

Should kids wear face masks in school?

First graders and their classmates wear masks as they go to lunch at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Salt Lake City.
First graders Allison Mejia Medina, left, Tatum Ashy, right, and their classmates wear masks as they go to lunch at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said over the weekend that it might be a good move for parents to keep their children masked when they’re inside the classroom.

Children, face masks and classrooms

Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that children may want to keep their face masks on when they’re back in school.

  • “Wearing masks is difficult in the summertime when it’s hot, and I don’t think that the risk merits that,” Gottlieb said. “But I do think parents need to make an assessment about the risk of the environment. … In a crowded, indoor, stuffy setting, in a classroom, for example, I think having kids continue to wear masks for a period of time is reasonable.”

Gottlieb said children might not need to wear masks outside during the summertime when they’re at summer camp or other outdoor activities.

In Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox said the state won’t require classrooms to require face masks during the final week of schools, according to the Deseret News. However, local districts can still make their own decisions.

  • “We felt like this was a really solid compromise opportunity,” the governor said, according to the Deseret News.

Should you wear masks inside?

Gottlieb said he would offer the same advice for adults who are vulnerable, especially if they are unvaccinated, have a medical condition or if they have a compromised immune system, according to The Washington Post.

  • “I think it’s an environment right now where we’re not going to rely necessarily on public health ordinances and mandates from governors and mayors to protect us,” Gottlieb said. “But we’re going to have to protect ourselves based on our own assessment of our risk and our own comfort.”