Pa. doctor shares advice on kids and masking as statewide order is set to lift

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Soon some Pennsylvania kids may be able to go maskless at school.

On Monday, Governor Wolf said his administration plans to lift the statewide school mask mandate on January 17, 2022. That will leave it to individual school districts to decide whether to require masks.

Pennsylvania mom Amanda Fromille has five kids and is a school bus driver. She says her family is anxiously waiting for the day when they can go maskless.

“We’re very happy. I told my kids and they’re like is it January yet?” Fromille said. “My personal opinion I wish it would come sooner, but it’s nice to kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel for them.”

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Other parents are for universal masking in schools and worry that the end of the statewide rule will put their child’s health at risk. Dr. John Goldman, an infectious disease specialist with UPMC, says vaccination is the best way to protect kids from COVID.

“The safest thing to do is get your kids vaccinated,” Goldman said.

Masking can help keep them safe as well but Goldman says it isn’t always a must.

“I’m not sure there’s a one size fits all answer to can you take off your mask,” Goldman said. “If there’s a ton of disease, if there’s an outbreak in your school the kids should be masked, the kids should be more careful even if they’re vaccinated. If there’s very little disease you can be less careful.”

For those who want to keep their kids masked, it can still help, even if others around them choose not to.

“Wearing a mask yourself even when other people aren’t I think provides substantial protection,” Goldman said.

Some families are more than ready to be done with masking and hope it’s for good.

“I’m not worried about it with my kids putting them in school with no mask on. I’m not worried about it with me putting a mask on. Like, I’m not worried about it at all,” Fromille said. “I’m just ready for my kids and my family and everyone to get back to normal. And I’m just kind of over it.”

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