Can kids safely return to school amid ongoing COVID pandemic?
With vaccines now available for children as young as six months, doctors and public health officials encourage parents to get their kids and themselves vaccinated and boosted when eligible. They say those who are unvaccinated are at greater risk for COVID-19.
As back-to-school season commences, vaccines are especially important tools for safely sending children to day care, preschool and school environments.
According to Aug. 11 data from the California Department of Public Health, just about one third of children ages 5-11 are vaccinated and less than 25% of Black and Latino children in this age group have received their primary series. In the two months since the vaccine became available for children under 5, only 1.6% of children under 5 years old statewide have received their primary series.
Wearing a mask reduces the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Individual school districts may have their own requirements or recommendations on masking, which should be guided by community transmission levels. The CDC recommends universal indoor masking in schools and early childhood education programs during times when community transmission is high. Unless otherwise directed by local health departments or local educational agencies, students and staff should follow the California Department of Public Health masking guidance for the general public. As now much of our country is at a medium COVID-19 community level, it is important for children who are immunocompromised or at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19 to wear a mask indoors.
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