COVID-19 and Children Wearing a Mask
Masking in Schools
During the pandemic, we have worked with schools to implement public health measures to support the safety of children in their care, the teachers and staff and our community as a whole. In light of the current increases in COVID-19 in children and adults, including in vaccinated individuals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have recommended universal masking for all teachers, staff and visitors, as well as all students older than age 2 unless they have a medical or developmental condition that prevents it.
We know that kids can get COVID-19 and transmit it, even if they are fully vaccinated and even if they do not have symptoms. Face masks are one of the most effective ways to prevent people from getting sick and prevent people who are infected from transmitting COVID-19 to others.
We are dedicated to the safety of the children and families we serve and our community in Northeast Ohio, particularly during the current pandemic. In order to ensure we are doing all we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we support masking in schools.
- Why should my child wear a mask?
Masks are one of the most important defenses against the spread of the virus. If all people are masked, the risk of infection is less. Mask wearing along with washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, and physical distancing all done together are the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection.
- Which children need to wear a mask?
According to the CDC, all children who are over the age of 2 and capable of removing a mask on their own can wear a mask safely. In Ohio, children must wear a mask unless there is a medical reason not to or they are under the age of 2 and not capable of removing a mask on their own.
- I heard that wearing a mask is bad for children, is this true?
The scientific consensus is that wearing a mask is not harmful to a patient’s ability to breathe. In healthy individuals it does not cause a decrease in oxygen levels or a dangerous increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood or brain. If your child has a lung-related disease, ask your child’s doctor if it’s okay for them to wear a mask.
- Is a face shield just as good as wearing a mask?
A face shield is not recommended as a replacement for a mask by the CDC and, according to the CDC, is not as effective as wearing a mask, since most face shields do not block droplets from entering or leaving the sides or bottom of the face shield. Face shields worn in addition to a face mask may offer additional protection to the wearer, since the shield protects the eyes as well.
- Which children are exempt from wearing a mask?
According to the CDC, children under the age of two should not wear a mask. Very few children aged two or older are exempt from wearing a mask under the current Ohio guidelines. Children who may qualify for an exemption include those with a severe anxiety disorder, sensory integration disorder, or severe behavioral health disorder such as some children with severe pervasive developmental disorder or autism. Children with asthma usually will be able to wear a mask. Children with severe respiratory impairments may have difficulty tolerating a mask, particularly for extended periods, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. If your child has a lung-related disease, ask your child’s doctor if it’s okay for them to wear a mask. For those children exempt from wearing a mask, every attempt should be made to have them wear a face shield and to maintain physical distancing from other people.
How to Properly Wear a Mask
Wash or sanitize your hands.
Make sure colored side of mask is facing out and stiff bendable edge is on top.
Holding ear loops, pull around ears.
Mold bendable edge to nose.
Expand mask to cover nose and chin.
Wash your hands again.