The region’s public health officials are recommending school districts continue to require masks in school buildings, in accordance with recent changes in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) masking guidelines.
“It’s great news that children ages 12 and up can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but kids under age 12 aren’t eligible yet,” said Dr. Jennifer Watts, chief emergency management medical officer, with Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “Until children are fully vaccinated, it’s important that they continue to wear a mask, along with taking other infection control measures, to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Last week, the CDC announced fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear a mask or physically distance in most circumstances, except where required by law or business guidance. However, because most students can’t be vaccinated by the end of the school year, the CDC recommends that schools continue to require masks until at least the end of the 2020-21 school year.
Children ages 12 and older can now receive the Pfizer vaccine, and all three COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are available to all people age 18 and older.
“Schools in our region have been able to maintain low numbers of COVID-19 cases because of masking and distancing practices,” said Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department. “We know that wearing a mask works. Let’s end the school year safely by masking up in our schools.”
According to the CDC, masks help prevent people from getting and spreading COVID-19 by providing a barrier that keeps respiratory droplets from spreading.
“We all want to get back to normal, but we can’t let our guard down too soon,” said Juliann Van Liew, director of the Unified Government Public Health Department. “If your child is eligible, please consider getting them vaccinated or talk with a health care provider if you have questions. Until your child is fully vaccinated, please continue to help them take precautions like wearing a mask, distancing from others, frequently washing hands and staying home when sick."
For more vaccine information, visit PrepareMetroKC.org.