The great debate in public schools this Fall 2021 season is still on the issue of mask mandates. With the return of in-person learning amid rising Covid cases, it may seem counter-intuitive, but taking the necessary precautions and safety measures will ensure a healthy transition for your children returning to school.
For Older Children
If your children are 12 or older, the CDC recommends them getting the vaccination to decrease their chances of contracting Covid. Depending on your school district, they may still be required to wear masks and socially distance themselves from other students as well. Any visitors to the school are also required to wear masks as a precaution, as well as all staff and parents, even if you are fully vaccinated. School districts are trying to enforce mask mandates as a safety blanket for students, as all the close quarters can lead to a spread of Covid-19 if left alone.
For Younger Children
Most of the same rules apply if your children are younger. Obviously, the vaccine is not available to children under 12-years of age, but masks are strongly recommended for any child over two years of age. Any staff, parents, or visitors at the schools are also required to wear masks. It’s important to teach your children about staying safe and what is appropriate and not when it comes to interacting with their fellow students and when it’s acceptable to remove their masks. Having them aware of the situation as much as they can comprehend will help make the transition in school easier for them. Whether the idea of wearing a mask is new or not to them, the act of wearing one in school may still be new, thus it’s important for them to understand the “why” behind it.
No matter your stance on the mask mandate, the overall idea behind it is for the safety of your children. Some school districts are not enforcing mask mandates and are seeing increasing cases of Covid in their student population. The schools that are requiring masks are staying steady in their cases and continue to keep it that way. Having your children back in school walls means taking any precautions that you can to maintain their health and safety each day. Any concerns you may have about them returning to in-person learning during these times can mostly be resolved with the use of wearing masks and washing hands regularly. We all must do our part in returning to normalcy the right way and safe way, especially for our children’s futures.