True or false: what parents need to know about masks in schools

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UTAH (ABC4) – Utah is currently experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases and new information suggests the Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox.

With this information surfacing as the school year approaches, many parents may be trying to make the decision whether or not to send children back to school with masks, especially children under the age of 11 who cannot. not yet be vaccinated.

Here are some truths and lies about kids and masks from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and a teacher to help parents make an informed decision.

True: Face masks reduce the spread of COVID-19 by blocking respiratory droplets emitted when people talk, sneeze or cough, according to UDOH.

FILE – In this file photo from May 18, 2021, fifth graders wearing face masks sit at an appropriate social distance during a music class at Milton Elementary School in Rye, NY as the nation wraps up a school year marred by the pandemic, some states are now starting to release new standardized test scores that offer a first glimpse of just how far behind students are – with some states reporting the turbulent year reversed years of progress in all academic subjects. New York, Georgia and some other states have pushed to cancel testing for a second year so schools can focus on classroom learning. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer, File)

True: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that everyone in a school setting wear a face mask.

True: For unvaccinated children, wearing a mask is the best thing to keep them safe, according to UDOH.

True: Side effects of wearing masks, such as skin irritation, headaches, and general discomfort, are mild and rare, according to Jenny Johnson, public information manager for UDOH.

True: Even those with asthma and allergies can safely wear a face mask, UDOH told ABC4.com.

True: Some research and theories suggest that wearing masks can hinder a child’s learning. Amanda Sutton is a teacher at Open Classroom and teaches young children in Grades 1 and 2. She says the masks have made tasks like speaking words difficult for her students, but acknowledges the masks meet the needs of a public health crisis.

“I think my goal for next year would be for the general and daily use of masks to be accepted and encouraged, and if we take them off occasionally for certain activities, that’s the exception, not the rule,” explains- she does. “Then we can meet what I consider to be the needs of a public health crisis and the needs of little children who are trying to learn.”

FILE – In this file photo from September 9, 2020, students wear face masks as they arrive for classes at Immaculate Conception School while observing COVID-19 prevention protocols in New York’s Bronx neighborhood . Schools and camps across the county are making plans to help kids catch up on school this summer after a year or more of distance learning for many of them. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, file)

False: Wearing a mask causes hypoxia (low oxygen content) and lung damage. True: According to UDOH, there is no evidence that wearing a mask is dangerous.

False: Wearing a mask traps carbon dioxide in healthy people, even when multiple masks are stacked. True: There is no evidence that wearing a mask is dangerous, says UDOH.

False: Children with intellectual disabilities should not wear a mask. True: Many children with developmental disabilities have other health issues that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 disease, Johnson told ABC4.com. Wearing a mask can protect them.

False: The masks only protect the entourage of the wearer. True: The COVID-19 virus is spread primarily from person to person through respiratory droplets emitted when an infected person sneezes, coughs or speaks. Therefore, wearing a mask protects both the wearer and those around them, according to UDOH.

False: People who have been vaccinated cannot carry COVID-19 and are not at risk of spreading it. True: Although UDOH says it is extremely rare for people vaccinated to contract breakthrough COVID-19 infections, those who do are still contagious and can spread the virus. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that even those vaccinated resume wearing masks indoors.


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