By: Dr. Lena Edelstein-Pediatric Health Associates (Plainview, NY)
As a parent and pediatrician, I felt extraordinarily disheartened by the Nassau County Supreme Court declaring the NYS Department of Health’s mask mandate to be unenforceable.
For almost two years, I have done everything within my capability to keep my children, my family, and my patients safe.
I got vaccinated against COVID the moment I could. I encouraged my friends and family to get vaccinated when they were eligible. My oldest child who is 7, is vaccinated. And I anxiously anticipate being able to vaccinate my two younger children who are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine.
Besides vaccination being the best way to prevent serious complications of COVID illness, MASKS HAVE SHOWN TO BE A SAFE, EASY, READILY ACCESSIBLE, and EFFECTIVE way for preventing COVID transmission. This article with direct links to numerous peer-reviewed studies demonstrating mask effectiveness.
The CDC recommendation to shorten the isolation period after COVID infection further supports masking in schools. Masking allows a child who contracted COVID whose symptoms have 100% resolved to return to school after 5-days, as opposed to 10 days, as long the child wears a well-fitting mask for the completion of 10 days from symptoms onset or positive COVID test. Masking allows students to return to school sooner while keeping their classmates safe, with no detriment to the wearer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states
“Face masks can be safely worn by all children 2 years of age and older, including the vast majority of children with underlying health conditions, with rare exception. Children 2 years of age and older have demonstrated their ability to wear a face mask. In addition to protecting the child, the use of face masks significantly reduces the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory infections within schools and other community settings.”
Also, this verified website addresses some common misconceptions regarding mask-wearing by children especially, related to psycho-social development (short answer — it does NOT negatively impact them):
With the currently circulating strains of COVID, you may want to consider upgrading the type of mask you and your child are wearing. See the chart below from ACGIH:
As a parent and pediatrician, I value school for my children. I want schools to stay open for my children and your children. I will be sending all my children to school wearing their masks. I strongly advise you as parents to do the same. Especially until vaccination is universally accessible to all ages, masks play a crucial role in limiting the spread, decreasing viral load, and decreasing the chances your child will get sick.
It doesn’t seem so controversial to me.
Your concerned and always caring mother of three (Mother first, Doctor is my day job)
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