Pediatrician recommends children wear masks for upcoming school year

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - All children should wear masks in school this fall.

That’s the recommendation from the National American Academy of Pediatrics.

Pediatrician Dr. John Gaudet is part of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

As kids get ready to return to the classroom, the group is recommending children two and older wear a mask when they return to school in the fall, even if vaccinated.

Currently, Mississippi has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state, and the percentage is even lower for children 12 and older who are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“A mask helps block those tiny or larger droplets when you speak. Those droplets coming from your nose and mouth can harbor the virus. The virus is small enough to escape through the tiny pores of a mask, but generally, the virus resides on those droplets that are invisible, but when you wear a mask, the droplets will get trapped by the mask.”

Gov. Tate Reeves has not issued any mask mandates or other COVID-19 protocols in schools, so Mississippi School Districts are left to create their own COVID-19 safety police.

Gaudet says AAP looks at their recommendation as a layered approach to fight against COVID-19.

“Wearing a mask will help reduce the transmission of the virus that is invisible, and yet the Delta Variant is many, many times more transmissible than the old-school coronavirus. So, wearing a mask is not a 100 percent guarantee, but it will help protect the kids and keep them safe. One more thing, kids 12 and up should get vaccinated. If they are vaccinated, and they get exposed to coronavirus at school, they don’t have to quarantine. You will have to quarantine if you’re unvaccinated. The other thing the vaccine will do is number one; it will prevent them from getting seriously sick. Number two, it will help prevent them from even getting a milder illness, but it’s still a very typical illness to endure even if you’re not at the hospital.”

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