KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Wearing protective masks while attending in-person learning was a reality for students this past school year.
A leading organization for children’s health believes it should again when the new school year starts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics believes student mask-wearing is a good thing even if those students were vaccinated against covid-19. It’s why the organization is recommending universal masking in schools.
The Kilgallon sisters are getting a summer check-up but when they check into Wyoming Valley West High School for the fall semester, the American Academy of Pediatrics believes the teenage girls and all other students 2-years and older, along with teachers and school staff should wear face masks.
“I got comfortable wearing masks so it’s just like, it’s whatever but I was hoping we didn’t have to,” said Emma Kilgallon, a at Wyoming Valley West High School.
“I don’t really like them but I do think that people, you can’t really tell if everyone is vaccinated,” said Isabel Kilagalon a sophomore at Wyoming Valley West High School.
And that’s exactly the point AAP makes since many schools are not equipped to monitor COVID vaccination status, and because students younger than 12 are still not eligible for the vaccine.
“The COVID virus, the delta variant is actually going to places where vulnerable people are and it’s the younger kids and those that are unvaccinated,” stated Dr. Jeffery Kile, MD a Pediatrician at PAK Pediatrics.
Dr. Kile has seen that happen first-hand among younger patients.
“Yes, we’ve had many children that have been COVID-positive here in the office and in fact, we’ve had hospitalizations because of it,” said Dr. Kile.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics is making the school mask recommendation, the CDC is not although it said schools should enforce mask-wearing if there is high COVID spread in the community.
Even though the Kilgallon girls have been vaccinated, their mom sees the possibility of mask-wearing in the classroom as reasonable.
“I’d rather see them have a new normal school year, that they’re in school full time, they’re with their teachers and learning person to person versus back home online. So if it takes a mask to have somewhat of a normal school year then I’m for it,” said Traci Kilgallon.
Most Pennsylvania school districts have not decided whether to make mask-wearing a must for the fall. For now, the state department of education plans to follow CDC guidance and not AAP.