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Multiple experts agree that children should mask up in class; here’s why

‘Optional masking’ not beneficial in classroom setting, experts say.
The CDC is recommending universal mask-wearing in schools, regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC is recommending universal mask-wearing in schools, regardless of vaccination status.(NBC12)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 9:31 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - New guidance from the CDC recommends children wear masks in school this fall, and as long as there is no vaccine available to children under 12.

We spoke with experts who say it’s not the most ideal situation, but it is the safest.

The goal of masking is to keep kids in school and avoid any outbreak that might send them back to virtual learning.

Masking kids has divided parents, but a UAB pediatrician says now is the time to come together.

“It’s gotten so heated, mask or don’t mask, make a rule or don’t make a rule, let parents decide, I think ultimately what we all need to do is take a step back,” said Dr. Gigi Youngblood, pediatrician at UAB.

She says learning online did not work for many children, so the new recommendations are aiming to keep kids in class.

“Our kids need to be in school, we learned that last year,” said Dr. Youngblood.

Dr. Youngblood explains making masks optional is not really a compromise at all.

“It is very different, universal masking versus one or two children in a classroom being masked,” she said.

Universal masking helps keep the virus particles out of the air almost entirely, whereas optional masking just reduces it.

“Telling families, you can mask your children, it’s just not an equivalent to universal masking and we need to dispel that myth,” said Youngblood.

State health officials agree, saying that without even the option of a vaccine, continuing masking makes scientific sense.

“We as pediatricians are heavily invested in the health and wellbeing of children, and we Alabama pediatricians want our children to be safe,” explained Dr. Karen Landers, state health officer and pediatrician.

And the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and more all agree, masking is the temporary solution.

“We need them at least until we have a vaccine to offer to every school age child,” said Youngblood.

And of course if your child is wearing a reusable mask, make sure you have a freshly washed one each day.

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