The American Academy of Pediatrics is made up of 67,000 pediatricians committed to the optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.
In mid-July, they released a statement strongly recommending in-person learning and urged all who are eligible to be vaccinated to protect against COVID-19. In addition to vaccinations, the AAP recommended a layered approach to make school safe for all students, teachers and staff. That includes a recommendation that everyone older than age 2 wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
During the last few weeks, many stories have surfaced from various news organizations about how students are returning to school without any mitigation strategies that were used to slow COVID spread in 2020. Predictably, as community cases of COVID-19 surged in these communities with low vaccination rates, cases of COVID in schools followed. This has led to hundreds of kids in several states being hospitalized, quarantined or forced into remote schools. If we follow their lead why wouldn’t this outcome be the same for us? Our community spread is trending up and our vaccination rates are low.
The latest information from the CDC says:
The COVID Delta variant is currently the predominant strain of the virus in the U.S.
The delta variant is highly contagious, nearly twice as contagious as previous strains.
Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern.
Many of our students are not yet vaccinated; some by choice but many because they are not yet eligible.
I hope the Kearney School Board and administration will heed the advice of 67,000 pediatricians, and our country’s brightest at the CDC as well as local doctors and health department professionals by implementing mitigation efforts when school resumes. A lot of young lives are depending on us.
Penny Parker, Kearney