South Middleton Faculty District plans to maintain its masking choices open | Schooling
School districts that are already in the middle of reforming school policy must now adopt new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a reversal of the previous guidelines, the agency announced that it would now recommend masking in schools. We know from the pandemic it works, kids who went to school in person last year, we did pretty well, we know masking work, said Dr. Joseph Perno, the chief physician of the Johns Hopkins All Childrens Hospital in St. Petersburg. Dr. Perno said he has seen a massive increase in the number of children who test positive overall, despite the fact that most are able to walk home from the emergency room. We know masks are the best way to protect our children and we need to remember that the vast majority of our children are not even eligible for the vaccine, he said. However, mask guidelines vary by state and, in many places, by district. It really depends so much on where you are and what school district you are in. Hence, it’s hard to generalize to the whole country, said Gigi Gronvall, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. What should the politics be? I think it’s easier to start strong and then wear off once there is less transmission in your community. Some states are reviewing guidelines for existing prevention strategies, including masking and vaccination, if applicable. A group of parents has already filed a lawsuit over masks in schools. In Missouri, the state attorney general had previously filed a lawsuit to stop a mask mandate in St. Louis County and St. Louis. The Alabama guidelines will include recommendations for universal masking in schools, however, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, schools can choose whether to follow the guidelines. Georgia’s largest school system, Gwinnett County, made it a requirement. Meanwhile, governors in Georgia, Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Mississippi, Arizona, and Florida have doubled in on mask mandates, leaving the choice to families. Several school districts in Florida discussed masks this week. We know two people who have died of COVID and we admit that we hear all these reports that it’s not that bad for kids, but there are and no one wants their kids to be the right people, said parent Brooke Elkins who stated that she would like to see a mandate for K-8 students who are not eligible for the vaccine until they are 12 years old. As a special needs student, it aggravated and upset his obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, caused regressive behavior problems and resulted in a lot of trauma for him and even said he didn’t want to wear a mask in school, said Jennifer Rogers, a parent of a student with special Needs. Rogers said she doesn’t think masks are effective, but feels that it should be optional without stigma or segregation of students. According to CDC data, more than 60 percent of US counties have significant or high transmission rates. Additional coverage from The Associated Press.