FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES ONLY
Information on this page is displayed for historical purposes only and is no longer being updated. As such, it may be out of date with recent developments or scientific research. CDC.gov and your state’s health department may offer additional guidance.
Reviewed by Pamela Zeitlin, MD
Mask for a Safe Return to School
As students get ready to return to school, COVID-19 cases and concerns about the Delta variant are increasing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend in-person learning and masking for all children 2 years and older, both vaccinated and those not vaccinated.
"CDC recommends that everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors regardless of vaccination status," said Rochelle P. Walensky, CDC Director.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, a medical organization of 67,000 pediatricians, encourages a layered approach to prevention and in-person learning. “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, chair of the AAP Council on School Health. "Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.”
Many students are under age 12 and aren’t yet eligible for a vaccine for COVID-19, but they can still transmit COVID-19 to others, which is a serious health threat. The Delta variant is also concern because it is much easier to transmit and causes more severe illness than the original virus.
“We hope families wear masks in schools and crowded indoor settings, get vaccinated and watch for the vaccine to become available to those under age 12,” says Pamela Zeitlin, MD.
“Our experience with masking, and the science behind the mask, shows that wearing masks slows the transmission of COVID-19. We also know that vaccines are doing a great job of protecting against the COVID-19 virus and its variants. We hope families wear masks in schools and crowded indoor settings, get vaccinated and watch for the vaccine to become available to those under age 12,” says Pamela Zeitlin, MD, pediatric pulmonologist and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at National Jewish Health for Kids.
Masking recommendations can change frequently. Please watch the CDC and your local health department for updates.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Post-COVID-19 Conditions in Children and Adolescents
National Center for Biotechnology Information
The impact of face masks on children—A mini review
The information on our website is medically reviewed and accurate at the time of publication. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, information may have since changed. CDC.gov and your state’s health department may offer additional guidance.