COVID-19 mask mandates are still being debated on in schools despite the fact that more and more children are getting infected with the coronavirus. 

Mask wearing is seen by many as a move that can keep children safe from the virus, especially those who are under the age of 12 and cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The United States is currently facing a COVID-19 surge that is driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. 

COVID-19 Mask Debates Continue in Schools

Woman Putting a Face Mask on a Child
(Photo : Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels)

COVID-19 mask mandates for children while in school are still being argued on by the adults tasked to make a decision that will protect the welfare of children. 

According to a report by Ars Technica, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said during a White House press briefing that "there's no doubt that there are more children getting infected."

Fauci pointed out that the Delta variant, which is driving the current surge in COVID-19 cases, is more than twice as contagious as the other variants of the virus. 

Despite the threat that the Delta variant of COVID-19 poses, schools and governments in different states have been implementing differing mask mandates. 

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended asking children to wear masks while in school. However, government officials like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have outright decided to ban mask mandates, according to the Ars Technica report.

School districts have defied the bans placed by the governors. In response, Governor DeSantis "threatened to withhold salaries of school administrators if they enact mask mandates.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has said that the way to keep children safe and ensure that schools remain open is to "vaccinate all eligible adults and adolescents around children and use mitigation strategies-like masks-in schools."

Related Article: CDC Believes Precautions Taken in Campuses and Community Can Make Schools Safe

Pediatric COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 cases among children have been increasing in number as the Delta variant continues to infect more and more people across the country. 

According to the Ars Technica report, Florida "has the country's highest daily average of children (under age 17) admitted to the hospital with COVID-19: 54 children per day." The report also cited a Miami Herald analysis that shows the sharpest increase in cases has been seen among children below 12 years of age. 

Elsewhere, nearly 1,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in Mississippi between August 2 and 6 while 5,000 more children are under quarantine. 

While students across the country have gone back to attending classes in schools, a school distinct in Indiana's Scott County went back to virtual learning. The move was made due to the high rate of positive cases in the district, as well as the high number of students who are in quarantine. 

COVID-19 Vaccination for Children

Children 12 years old and below are still not allowed to receive COVID-19 vaccines. 

That may change eventually as vaccine manufacturers have been conducting clinical trials to ensure that vaccines are safe for young children to use. Back in May, Moderna announced that it has begun COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials on young children and babies.  

Also Read: COVID-19 Vaccine Can't Be Given to Children Yet, Here's Why

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Written by Isabella James

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