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When Can Children Stop Wearing Masks in Schools?

An end to masking is discussed by an infectious disease expert

Many parents are tired of making their children wear masks. 

Infectious disease expert Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, explores an end to the masking regulation. Gandhi admits that it is complex, but “other places did not mask children less than 12, and that was almost the majority of places that are comparable to us.” She references countries like the U.K. Yet, she notes that masking does have a theoretical reasoning behind it because it creates a physical barrier, which reduces transmission.

Gandhi feels that the masks allowed students to get back into school quicker. "I do think the masks block the virus for children and others, and Delta is very transmissible," she says, adding, "but to me just put an end point on it, put an end point, so Americans don’t have this message that their children will be masked forever.” 

Gandhi believes the end point should be based on the amount of a circulating virus throughout a person’s community. Gandhi’s data shows that when there are only five to ten people being hospitalized for COVID out of 100,000 people who have had COVID, then students should no longer have to wear masks in schools. 

Gandhi does realize there are mixed messages being shared when people are packing football stadiums without masks, and that masks are a somewhat political issue. Nonetheless, Gandhi still feels children should be masked until metrics and more data are in place.