“Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean-hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone,” Dr. Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP’s Council on School Health, said in a statement on Monday.
The recommendation goes further than the updated guidance that was issued earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying students and school employees who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks. California public-health officials last week told schools to refuse entry to students and staff who decline to wear masks, but it backtracked hours later, allowing local education districts to decide how to enforce their Covid-19 rules.
The AAP opted for a blanket mask policy, saying some schools won’t have a system in place to monitor the vaccination status of students, but inoculations for a host of other medical conditions are already enforced by districts nationwide.
The AAP lists vaccine makers Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer among its major donors and supporters. Ironically, requiring all students to wear masks could diminish one of the incentives to get Covid-19 jabs.
Most US states have no mask mandate for public schools, and eight have prohibited local districts from imposing such orders, according to Burbio.com, which tracks school reopenings and pandemic policies. Nine states have mask requirements for all students, while two require only unvaccinated children to wear face coverings.
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