AAP recommends universal masking in schools for kids older than 2 years

The newest guidance says that all students aged older than 2 years should wear masks for in-person learning.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released their updated guidance for the forthcoming 2021-2022 academic year.1 The guidelines continue to urge for the use of in-person learning. The guidance also urges that schools follow the recommendations made by the Centers Disease Control and Prevention for building ventilation, testing, quarantining, cleaning, and disinfecting.

The main thrust of the guidance addressed vaccination and masking. All school staff and students who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine should do so. Some schools may need to require vaccine documentation for in-person learning. Vaccine resources should be made available and be easy to access for all in school communities. With masking, the guidance recommends that all children aged older than 2 years as well as all school staff should wear masks, unless a medical or developmental condition makes this impossible. The reasons for this recommendation includes:

  • Many students are not eligible to receive a vaccine.
  • It would be difficult to monitor or enforce a mandate that only included children who hadn’t been vaccinated.
  • Some schools are located in areas with low overall vaccination uptake.
  • Concern about the effect of variants, which may be more easily spread in a school environment.

The guidance noted that another benefit of universal masking would be a reduction in other respiratory illnesses that typically spread in school.

Reference

1. American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics Updates Recommendations for Opening Schools in Fall 2021. Published July 19, 2021. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://services.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2021/american-academy-of-pediatrics-updates-recommendations-for-opening-schools-in-fall-2021/