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9/1/21news article

Dayton Children's recommends universal masking at schools

let's use our tools to keep kids in school

In order to keep children in the classroom, Dayton Children’s recommends universal masking at schools, especially since the youngest children don’t have access to a vaccine yet.

Positive COVID-19 test rates have increased by 160% in children at Dayton Children’s in the past two weeks. The news has reported that several schools have had to close for a short time or go to remote learning already, due to extreme absenteeism from COVID-19 illness. We must use the tools we have to protect our children.

“In-person, full-time learning is the best option for our children,” says Deborah Feldman, president and CEO of Dayton Children’s. “We saw the struggle for kids dealing with remote learning and a lack of interaction with their peers in our behavioral health services. We heard the anxiety and the frustration as parents juggled at-home school and work. We saw the increased gaps for children with disabilities and those from disadvantaged homes.”

By wearing a mask in the classroom, children can stay in school, even when a classmate comes down with an illness. They would not have to quarantine (stay at home) for 14 days. That means more children remain in school and have fewer disruptions to their education.

“Children’s hospitals are carefully monitoring the impact of the Delta variant and its impact on kids and the increasing number of other respiratory conditions causing an increase in census in our hospitals,” says Nick Lashutka, president and CEO, Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. “Last year at this time, children were not experiencing COVID-19 at the rate or intensity that we are seeing now. While we are not yet seeing the COVID-19 levels in children that other states are experiencing, we are beginning to experience an increase in both numbers and severity.”

Fortunately, we have tools to help children return to school, remain in school and do so as safely as possible, including strongly encouraging wearing masks by all staff and students and vaccinations for staff and children 12 and older.

how do masks prevent the spread of COVID-19?

When worn correctly, face masks create a barrier that reduces the spray of a person's spit and respiratory droplets. These droplets play a key role in the spread of COVID-19 because they can carry SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Masks also can protect you from others who may have coronavirus but are not showing symptoms and who could come within 6 feet of you, which is how far respiratory droplets can travel when people sneeze or cough or raise their voices. 

in order to be effective, masks should:

  • Cover both the nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face
  • Be secured with ear loops or ties
  • Have multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for unrestricted breathing
  • Be washed and dried carefully after use

“We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers -- and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” said Sonja O’Leary, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Council on School Health. “The pandemic has taken a heartbreaking toll on children, and it’s not just their education that has suffered but their mental, emotional and physical health. Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.”

more tools to keep kids in school

  • Get the vaccine (if older than 12 years)
  • Mask up!
  • Wash/sanitize your hands frequently
  • Keep your distance
  • Stay home when you are sick

Deborah Feldman

president and chief executive officer
view full bio

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