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At this moment when the Delta variant is sickening an unprecedented number of children, pediatric ICU beds are filling up, and schools are opening for the fall, MomsRising is urging school officials across the country to follow the current guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to protect the health of our nation’s children. MomsRising is announcing its support for universal school mask requirements that cover all students, teachers, and staff members today. The online and on-the-ground organization of more than one million mothers and their families took this step because its members are deeply concerned about their children’s health and safety, even as moms recognize the importance of the in-person learning their children want and need.
“It is terrifying to see the dangerous, even deadly, Delta variant spreading at such an alarming speed with no vaccines available for children under 12,” said MomsRising Executive Director and CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “Moms across the country are struggling with incredibly tough decisions about whether to send their children to school to resume the in-person learning and social engagement that offers so many benefits, especially after more than a year of isolation, anxiety and trauma for many. Our decisions become immeasurably more difficult when school officials aren’t allowed to make schools as safe as possible by requiring universal masking.”
“It is irresponsible for school officials not to take this step and for governors or other politicians to stand in their way. It’s time to stop playing politics with our children’s lives. Their health and safety must be paramount,” Rowe-Finkbeiner added, noting that millions of moms also have an urgent need to hold onto their jobs or return to the workforce in order to support their families.
The country’s leading health agencies support masking for children right now as the COVID infection rate is increasing nationwide and children’s hospitalization rates have reached their highest levels yet. On August 4,the CDC updated its guidance to recommend universal masking inside school buildings for anyone over the age of 2 — including students, teachers, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status — due to the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant. TheAmerican Academy of Pediatrics also recommends universal masking in schools because it is proven to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Both organizations recommend masking as part of a layered approach to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in schools that also includes vaccinations for those who are eligible, improved ventilation, contact tracing, quarantines and other health measures.