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This group recommends children wear masks in school — even if they’re vaccinated

American Academy of Pediatrics said masks should be worn when children return to school in the fall

SHARE This group recommends children wear masks in school — even if they’re vaccinated
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall helps 3-year-old Della Barker Asman with her mask.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall helps 3-year-old Della Barker Asman with her mask as she visits with preschool children at Neighborhood House in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children return to school for in-person learning — as long as they wear face masks when they return.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children return to school for in-person learning — as long as they wear face masks when they return.

Should fully vaccinated kids wear masks in school?

The AAP’s new guidelines suggested that schools should take a “layered approach to make school safe for all students, teachers and staff.”

  • The layered approach includes “vaccination, universal mask use, ventilation, testing, quarantining, and cleaning and disinfecting,” according to the AAP.
  • “Combining these layers of protection will make in-person learning safe and possible. Schools should monitor the implementation and effectiveness of these policies,” the AAP said.

The group suggests children — even if they’re fully vaccinated — wear masks to protect each other from spreading the novel coronavirus to others, including unvaccinated people.

Do face masks protect children for COVID and the delta variant?

Sonja O’Leary, chairwoman of the AAP Council on School Health, said in a statement to The Washington Post that masks will help people stay safe from COVID-19.

  • “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,” O’Leary told The Washington Post. “Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.”

Masks for children have been a massively debated amid the coronavirus pandemic. Opponents to mask mandates suggest that COVID-19 poses little threat to children, and children shouldn’t be forced to wear masks, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

Questions over children and face masks

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said forcing children to wear face masks is “child abuse.”

  • He said that “the only people who wear masks outside are zealots and neurotics.”

Similarly, both Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Missouri Rep. Jason Smith were among the congressional Republicans who asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explain why children should wear masks.

Experts support children wearing masks

But experts feel differently. Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN that masks should not be ruled out for youngsters.

  • “I would say right now, if your kids are old enough to wear masks, then they should when they’re indoors, at least until we can get our arms around this delta variant,” he said.