We at Kids First Pediatrics have been getting more questions and concerns from parents about revised mask recommendations. We’d like you to consider the following information from the American Academy of Pediatrics as we (thankfully!) are entering an improved phase of the COVID pandemic:
In the wake of updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19 on how communities can approach public health measures to reduce the risk of illness, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers considerations for families to inform their decisions.
CDC’s updated recommendations allow communities to relax risk mitigation measures like masking when all three of the following conditions are met:
- Low COVID-19 transmission rates
- Low hospital admission rates
- Adequate hospital capacity
Communities with high levels of immunization also have more protections that make masks less critical, though many children and individuals lack this protection.
While CDC’s new approach is reasonable, pediatricians urge state and local policymakers to keep in mind the unique needs of children when considering COVID-19 mitigation measures. For some children—including those too young to be immunized and many with special health care needs—masking will still be an important layer of protection for a while longer,” said AAP President Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP.
“We encourage each family to make a plan that works best for them, while also modeling empathy and discouraging bullying of any child who chooses to mask to protect themselves and their family even when not required to do so.”
AAP advises families to consider the following factors in making this decision:
- If your child is between ages 2 and 5 and currently ineligible for COVID-19 vaccine
- If your child is immunocompromised and may not have a protective immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine, or is at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness
- If your child is not immunized
- If other members of your family are at higher risk of severe disease or are not immunized
- If you live in a community with “high” COVID-19 transmission
These factors may lead adults and children to continue wearing face masks in public indoor settings, including schools, even if not required. According to the AAP, children, adolescents, and teachers who choose to continue wearing face masks in school settings should be supported in their decision to do so. “
We’d also like to remind families that masking is still required in healthcare settings, including in our office for parents and children over 2 years of age.