The mandate will apply to pupils, visitors, and teachers, according to Lewis Ferebee, the chancellor of the district. An exception for fully vaccinated individuals was not mentioned.
Schools in the area are set to open for students Aug. 30, and Ferebee disclosed few details of the plan.
"We're not intentionally withholding any information," Ferebee said. "We're in a very fluid environment. The guidelines and protocols shift as things evolve."
Children and teenagers in the school system were mandated to wear masks during the 2020–2021 school year, and the policy was never lifted. The district's policy, like many others, are at odds with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which stipulates those who received both shots do not need to wear face coverings in most circumstances.
However, emergency use vaccine authorizations have not been granted for children younger than 12, leaving a gap in coverage in many K-12 schools. The American Academy of Pediatrics advised schools Monday to enforce mask policies for all children older than 2 regardless of vaccination status.
"A significant portion" of students nationwide are not eligible for vaccination, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"It's important to use every tool in our toolkit to safeguard children from COVID-19," said Sara Bode, chairwoman-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health Executive Committee, in a statement. "Universal masking is one of those tools, and has been proven effective in protecting people against other respiratory diseases, as well. It's also the most effective strategy to create consistent messages and expectations among students without the added burden of needing to monitor everyone's vaccination status."
Also on Thursday, Chicago Public Schools indicated all students, teachers, and staff would be mandated to wear face coverings inside. Interim Chicago Public Schools CEO José Torres told Chicago families of the development, and the only exceptions to the rule would be while eating or during outdoor activities.
“Based on feedback from our public health experts at the local, state and federal levels, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, we will require that masks/cloth face coverings continue to be worn indoors by everyone, regardless of vaccination status, except for while eating or drinking,” Torres wrote.
“Continuing to require masks will help make sure those in our school communities who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, which encompasses the majority of our students, remain as safe as possible," he added.
As of July 15, children made up 0%-0.26% of all COVID-19 deaths, while 0%-.03% of all child coronavirus positives resulted in death, the latest data from American Academy of Pediatrics revealed.
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Original Author: Jake Dima
Original Location: DC public schools to require masking for students and staff