American Academy of Pediatrics Urges In-Person Learning & Wearing of Face Masks in Updated COVID-19 Guidance on School Safety by 30Seconds Mom

American Academy of Pediatrics Urges In-Person Learning & Wearing of Face Masks in Updated COVID-19 Guidance on School Safety

Keeping face masks on in school and urging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are among several coordinated interventions recommended in updated American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) interim guidance that strongly advocates for in-person learning during the 2021-2022 school year.

“Remote-learning highlighted inequities in education, was detrimental to the educational attainment of students of all ages, and exacerbated the mental health crisis among children and adolescents,” according to the guidance.

Given the evidence on low in-school transmission rates of SARS-CoV-2 with proper prevention measures and the availability of effective vaccines for those ages 12 years and older, “the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risks in almost all circumstances."

Minor updates also were made to AAP guidance on camp attendance.

Pediatricians can refer to the guidance documents when counseling families and collaborating with local schools and communities.

Back to Class: Wear a Mask

Pediatricians should emphasize a layered approach that prioritizes attending school in person, while protecting students and staff from SARS-CoV-2 variants that may be more transmissible, said Dr. Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health Executive Committee.

The AAP continues to recommend that all staff and students who are 2 years or older wear face masks unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit their use.

Universal masking serves multiple roles, according to Dr. O’Leary. “As we start the 2021-2022 school year, a large portion of students are not eligible to be vaccinated and there are COVID variants that are more contagious. Because of this and because we want to have all students in school, the AAP advocates for all students, teachers and staff to wear masks while indoors in school,” she said.

In addition, schools may lack the resources to monitor vaccine status or enforce mask policies based on vaccination status.

Another benefit of universal masking is that it protects students and staff from other respiratory illnesses that would take time away from school, according to the guidance.

Importance of Attendance

When in-person school services were not available during the pandemic, disparities worsened, especially for children who are English language learners, children with disabilities, children living in poverty and children who are Black, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native.

“Remote learning highlighted racial and social inequity another important reason to get students back in school safely,” Dr. O’Leary said. “This pandemic and the last 18 months of remote learning have shown us the importance of physically being together, especially for children and adolescents.”

Schools and school-supported programs are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being and provide children and adolescents with academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/occupational/speech therapy, mental health services, health services and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits, according to the guidance.

The AAP also recommends that schools monitor in-person and virtual attendance daily and identify and support students at higher risk for absenteeism. When working with school districts, pediatricians also can:

  • Promote racial/ethnic and social justice by promoting the well-being of all children in any COVID-19 plan.
  • Focus on ensuring equitable access to educational supports and medical and behavioral health care for children living in under-resourced communities.
  • Be aware of academic accommodations and supports for all students, including those with individualized education programs.
  • Ensure the school environment provides an all-encompassing approach for mental health support.

Immunizations

Pediatricians are urged to work with schools and local public health authorities to promote childhood vaccination messaging before the start of school and throughout the school year. “It is vital that all children receive recommended vaccinations on time and get caught up if they are behind as a result of the pandemic,” the guidance states.

While the influenza vaccine generally is not required for school attendance, it should be highly encouraged for all students and staff.

The AAP recommends consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional information on mitigation measures around physical distancing, testing, contact tracing, ventilation, cleaning and disinfecting.

Updated Camp Guidance

Here are highlights of the updated AAP Guidance for Families and Pediatricians on Camp Attendance During the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all eligible staff and campers ages 12 and older. If all staff and campers are fully vaccinated, individuals do not need to wear masks while at camp.
  • All campers and camp staff should wear face masks indoors (unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit use), especially in mixed vaccination settings.
  • In general, masks are not required during outdoor activities unless in a crowded setting or during sustained close contact.
  • Policies on the use of face masks, physical distancing and testing may vary based on the vaccination status of camp staff and campers.

For the latest news on COVID-19, visit AAPPublications.org.

What do you think about the new AAP guidance? Tell us below.

The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

Take 30 seconds and join the 30Seconds community. Inspire and be inspired.

Related Products on Amazon We Think You May Like:

30Second Mobile, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

How to Wash Face Masks: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean Your Face Mask Properly From the CDC

Best Face Masks for Kids: 35 Face Masks for Back-to-School Time During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Dr. Anthony Fauci SiriusXM “Doctor Radio Reports" Interview: NIH Director Talks Face Masks for Fully Vaccinated, “Long COVID,” Delta Variant & More

DIY Face Masks for Coronavirus (COVID-19): Sew and No-Sew Face Mask Tutorials From the CDC

Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
This is incredibly helpful as it has been so confusing for parents to know what to do. Many thanks to the AAP for always sharing science-based and kid-focused insights to help families!
Tribe
Wow, big statement for them to make given the CDC hasn't had the courage to say this yet. Well said, AAP.
Cassiday
We have to do what’s necessary to keep kids safe and adapt our lifestyle to the virus as it evolves. 😷
bepositive
Because, the delta variant. And others on the way, too!
bepositive
The delta variant, and others on the way too!

join discussion

Please login to comment.

recommended tips

Sleep Matters for Teens & Tweens, Too! Is It Time for a Bedtime?

Should Parents Give Kids a 2-Minute Warning That Tech Time is About to End? The Answer May Surprise You!

Why You Need to Stop Multitasking & Really Listen to Your Kids!

Tell Your Kids How Special They Are: Here Are 3 Fun Ways to Do It!

Got 30 seconds? Sign up for 30Seconds.com and get the best of our tips each week!