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Parents sound off on new guidance regarding masks in schools from pediatricians group

The organization listed several reasons as to why masks should still be worn universally.
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 11:08 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The American Academy of Pediatrics announced Monday that it recommends universal masking in schools for several reasons.

Guidance from the organization released Monday states that all students older than two years old should wear face masks at school unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit use.

The organization listed several reasons as to why masks should still be worn universally.

It noted that a significant portion of the student population is not eligible to get vaccinated, it could be difficult for school staff to monitor mask-wearing for unvaccinated students, and there is still concern that COVID-19 variants can easily spread among children and adolescents.

The school mask-wearing guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics differs from the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month. The CDC recommended that masks not be required in schools for students and staff members who are fully vaccinated.

WBTV spoke to several parents about the concept of masks being worn in schools in the fall of 2021.

A father visiting Charlotte from Oregon, who asked not to be named, said he was in favor of masks being worn in school buildings.

“Kids should wear masks in school when they go back in the fall. It’s a safety thing. Let’s get the politics out of it. Let’s take care of one another,” said the father.

Michelle Harrington, a south Charlotte mother, said her child was too young for school, but she didn’t think masks should be required for kids.

“I don’t think kids should wear masks. I think they should be free,” said Harrington.

Erin Link, another Charlotte parent, said she didn’t feel strongly either way when it came to the discussion about masks in schools.

“I haven’t done my full research yet, however I do know that masks are important, especially with the evolution of the virus so I would probably be supportive of my daughters being in masks this fall,” said Link.

While opinions on masks differ, parents seemed to agree that the mixed messages from multiple health organizations was not helpful.

“That’s so confusing. I don’t know who to listen to,” said Harrington.

Link echoed that sentiment.

“That is definitely confusing. I fully believe in the CDC and what they encourage us to do, but certainly the other organization is acclaimed as well,” she said.

Ultimately, the school districts will decide what to do in regards to mask policies. Several districts in the Charlotte area have already decided that masks will be optional.

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