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New pediatric mask recommendation, WCPS says masks optional at this time

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 3:20 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - New research suggests it could be months before the vaccine is offered to kids under 12 years old. Now, a pediatric group has issued new guidance on universal masking for kids and teachers ahead of the school year.

“We need to prioritize getting children back into schools,” said Dr. Suman Shekar, Pediatrician with Med Center Health.

Most all experts agree that kids need to be back in school full-time.

“Alongside with their friends, and teachers, and have their regular lives,” expressed Shekar.

However, some groups differ on the mask recommendations.

“CDC recommended, no masking for vaccinated people,” explained Shekar.

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now recommending universal mask use for all students and teachers during in-person learning this fall.

“CDC is concentrating on the adult group more, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is concentrating on the kids,” said Shekar.

Board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Shekar, says she agrees with the AAP’s latest recommendations.

“We are hoping and expecting that we get the vaccine for the age group as soon as possible. But until then, universal masking is important,” she said.

At this time, the Kentucky Department of Education has issued guidance that allows individual school districts to make decisions on mask requirements. It’s unclear whether or not that guidance will eventually change to a mandate.

“If our number one priority is for kids to be able to be in every single day, we really ought to think about what we’re going to do, especially with classes for kids that are under 12 since none of them can be vaccinated at the moment,” said Governor Andy Beshear.

The Warren County Public School District says masks will be optional for this upcoming year.

“At this time, WCPS has decided all students will return to school on August 4, 2021 for full-time, in-person learning with no mask requirement for students and staff, though all will have the option to wear masks, should they choose to do so,” said WCPS Superintendent, Rob Clayton.

However, masks will be required for everyone on buses.

“Based on CDC and the Kentucky Department of Public Health’s mandates, all students and staff will be required to wear masks while riding buses; this includes to and from school, field trips, athletic events, etc.,” said Clayton.

“We will continue to monitor the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its variants as the new school year approaches. In the event community conditions warrant reconsideration, WCPS is committed to notifying our entire school community in a timely manner.”

Kentucky does not have the data for the number of kids and teens between 12 and 17 who are vaccinated. Locally, Med Center Health says 12 to 19-year-olds who have received the first dose of the vaccine, equate to 5.7 percent of those vaccinated at their clinic.

Sixty-one percent of Kentucky adults have received the vaccine. 38 percent of the population in Warren County is vaccinated.

Beshear released new mask recommendations for the state and these are not mandates at this time.

New state mask recommendations
New state mask recommendations(Team Kentucky)

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