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Anthony Fauci said the leading US public health agency is reviewing its guidelines for children wearing masks in class following a recommendation from an American pediatrician association for universal use of masks, regardless of vaccination status .
Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, has sought to dispel some of the growing confusion as education officials in several cities and states say masks will or may be required in schools because they are unable to meet health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would exempt fully vaccinated people from wearing face coverings.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents approximately 67,000 pediatricians in the United States, said on Monday that anyone over the age of two should wear a face covering to school, citing a lack of immunization status monitoring systems in many schools and low immunization coverage in some local communities.
Schools “should do what is requested locally,” Fauci said in an interview on CBS This Morning Tuesday, adding that the Academy’s recommendation represented an “extra step of caution” from CDC advice.
“The CDC is looking carefully at this and hopefully we get a few. . . concordance “between the two bodies, he said.
The CDC said earlier this month that vaccinated students and teachers do not need to wear masks in schools if certain public health guidelines include maintaining a 3-foot distance between desks in the classroom, could be respected.
Officials in several counties, cities and states have already indicated that they may not, or may not, be able to meet the CDC’s distancing recommendation, which means children and staff should wear masks on campus even if they are vaccinated.
Fauci also warned that there is a possibility that vaccinations against Covid-19 will be required of schoolchildren in the future, as is the case with measles or mumps, if the country is unable to control successfully the coronavirus epidemic.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future this was something that would be seriously considered depending on how we handle the epidemic,” he said in the CBS interview.
“If we crush this” and new infections and transmission remain at low levels for an extended period of time, “then I don’t think you would need it,” Fauci said. However, if epidemics continue to emerge and spread, “it may very well be necessary” in schools.