American Academy of Pediatrics tells parents students and teachers should wear masks this fall

JOPLIN, Mo. – The American Academy of Pediatrics announced that students and teachers should wear masks regardless of their vaccination status when they return to class this fall.

The announcement by the American Academy of Pediatrics is one that is gaining support at the national and local level. Dr. Kelly Meier with Pediatric Associates of Southwest Missouri says she agrees with the Academy’s position for a number of reasons. Dr. Meier says “I think the biggest concern with children for this upcoming school year is, that, not everybody has the ability to be vaccinated, vaccines have only been approved for those 12 to 18 years of age, and so those kids under that age are not going to be able to be protected and be vaccinated.”

Dr. Meier says there are additional concerns with the Delta variant specifically. “This new variant that we have it does target and seem to be more easily spread through our teenagers, we’re also seeing greater numbers in our younger children as well including hospitalizations which is new to this strain.”

Dr. Meier says that seems to be the trend being noticed with the Delta variant. “A lot of what they’re seeing hospitalization wise and ICU admission wise at this point in time are going to be those younger people and unfortunately we have had recent deaths of adults even as young as their 30s that have died from this variant.”

Dr. Meier also has concerns about kids who get COVID. “It does concern me because at this point we’re still finding out what are the long term side effects of having COVID, having a lot more of these kids hospitalized, being a lot sicker, we don’t know kind of long-term if it’s going to cause lifelong issues or not.”

Dr. Meier adds that she believes a policy requiring masking for all kids two and up and all educators would be most beneficial for our local school districts.