HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The first day of school is close for many children in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee. Heading back to school means the decision for parents on whether or not to send their child to school with a face mask.
The state has left masking guidance up to individual school districts, so it’s important to know what that guidance is for your child’s school. Find a list of the local school districts and their masking requirements here.
Thursday, during a virtual meeting with local doctors, the topic of masking at schools and vaccinations was prominent. Kym Middleton, Pediatric Doctor, said that the choice to send a child to school with a mask comes down to how far someone is willing to go to protect their child and the community they live in.
“Most of the school-aged children aren’t able to get vaccinated so we’re just trying to protect them, protect family members who are sick at home, immune-compromised, babies who obviously can’t be masked,” said Middleton. “It’s just trying to look out for the wellbeing of everyone, unfortunately even if someone is vaccinated it’s a low percentage but there is a slight possibility of transmitting it.”
With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the CDC recommends everyone inside schools wear masks and says districts should require face coverings.
However, the Alabama Department of Education said that decision is up to local school districts.
While state school officials won’t speak to masking in schools, they are encouraging all faculty, staff, and students who are eligible to get vaccinated against the virus.
Dr. Middleton explained on the call that it’s hard to see a lot of people forget about the children who aren’t able to get the COVID-19 vaccine yet. Middleton also said she’s seen a real increase in other respiratory illnesses among children since the state mask mandate was lifted.
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine available to children, and it’s only available for those 12 years and older.