Question of the Week: Masks for Students
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2021

Question of the Week: Masks for Students

I would like your professional opinion on mask mandating in school and daycare settings for children over the age of two. Do you feel mask wearing is negatively impacting our youth? Do you feel the risk of COVID-19 spread in these settings is greater than the risk of mask wearing to their mental health?

Trey Dobson, MD, chief medical officer at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and emergency medicine physician at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, answered:

Thank you for your question, and I hear you. Masks are not something any of us want to keep going in perpetuity.

 So many aspects of the pandemic have been challenging for everyone, especially kids. These include masking, as well as quarantining and getting sick. We now have significant experience with the use of masks in the United States and internationally. The data unequivocally demonstrates that masks offer protection for children from getting the virus and either getting sick or passing the virus to their parents and siblings, or both. And importantly, masks help prevent a handful of cases from growing into large outbreaks that shut down entire classrooms and schools.

The negative mental and physical health effects of missing school, and the disruption that comes from having a sick child at home, outweigh the inconvenience of mask requirements in educational settings. When kids under 12 have the opportunity to be vaccinated and the prevalence of the virus decreases, we can feel safe removing the need for masks in school. And we will all smile.

If you have a question for Dr. Trey Dobson or one of our other clinical experts, please send it to wellness@svhealthcare.org.

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