HURRICANE, W.Va. (WOWK) — Several West Virginia health organizations have written an open letter to schools, urging them to require masks as COVID-19 case numbers rise, and the Delta variant spreads.
The group of organizations says that in order to ensure safe in-person learning, public and private schools must implement universal mask-wearing.
In the letter, the organizations cite guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which state that all students and staff should wear masks no matter their vaccination status.
“A return to in-person learning is vital for the development of our children and adolescents, but as the Delta variant spreads, it is essential that we take all the steps that we can to protect students and school staff from COVID-19 when they return to school,” said Lisa M. Costello, MD, MPH, FAAP, President of the West Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She added that “while COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective method that we have to prevent COVID-19, it’s not yet available to children under 12, so mask-wearing by all students and staff is a crucial strategy to include with other school COVID-19 prevention measures.”
The full letter can be read below.