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Guidance on masking and school

Akron Children’s Hospital agrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics in recommending the universal use of face masks by teachers, staff and students as children return to school in the coming weeks.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and a new variant is causing case numbers to rise, especially in areas of the state where vaccination rates are low.

While each school district must decide the best way to safeguard students, it’s important to note that masks are about 85% effective in preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Even in districts that choose not to mandate masks, parents can always choose to send their children to school with masks based on their family’s own health risk assessment.

Children younger than 12 are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine and, while rare, kids can develop serious illness. In addition, people who are vaccinated can still become ill with COVID-19 and spread the virus to others. Wearing a mask could mean the difference in a student remaining in-person at school or having to spend time in quarantine or isolation.

While many of us enjoyed taking a break from wearing masks since the spring, we don’t know how COVID-19 will evolve next, especially as cold weather returns. Masks, social distancing, and handwashing proved successful in keeping kids learning in their classrooms and enjoying their sports and other extra-curricular activities.

Akron Children’s Hospital also strongly recommends all who are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Though not foolproof, the COVID-19 vaccinations are still the single most effective tool we have in fighting this virus. Akron Children’s Hospital vaccine appointments can be made at: www.akronchildrens.org/.