Health experts give mixed messages on mask protocols in Schools

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — New cases of COVID-19 are now averaging 30,000 per day across the U.S. and the surge has state and national public health officials on high alert.

With the start of the school year just around the corner, there’s a new warning from a leading pediatrics group that children should wear masks.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is going against CDC recommendations when it comes to mask guidelines, suggesting all students and teachers –.even those who are vaccinated — should plan to mask up for the 2021-22 school year.

The recommendation comes just three weeks after Pennsylvania’s mask mandate was lifted on June 28.

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As previously reported by abc27 News, Pennsylvania still retains its ability to reinstate the mask mandate. The Pennsylvania Department of Health Communications Office said, “In the interest of protecting public health, the Department of Health has the authority to issue disease control measures, it believes to be appropriate, given the circumstances.”

Control measures referred to orders made in March 2020 which closed business, stay at home orders enacted in April 2020 and public masking orders which went into effect April 15, 2020.

The Department of Health later added, “It is important to note that any such measure would be based on the advice of public health experts in the Department and the approval of the Governor’s Office.”

But now it comes to the question of whether schools should follow CDC guidelines, which say all vaccinated people are okay to be in school without a face covering, or the most recent advice suggesting masks are the way to go.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says, “I think that the American Academy of Pediatrics, you know, they’re a thoughtful group. They analyze the situation and if they feel that is the way to go, I think that is a reasonable thing to do.”

Looking back, Pennsylvania issued its mandatory mask mandate on April 15, 2020 when daily COVID cases reached 1,145 — that’s more than 700 fewer daily cases than reported on Friday, July 16, 2021.

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