Now that there is a coronavirus vaccine, people are becoming cautiously optimistic about their lives going forward. Most of us have been working from home, and kids have been learning remotely throughout the pandemic. With an available vaccine, it’s possible that kids will return to school in fall 2021. But will they still have to continue wearing masks, sanitizing their hands, and practicing social distancing?
Will All Kids Be Vaccinated by Fall 2021?
There are a number of factors that have to be considered before making any kind of prediction. First of all, will the vaccine be rolled out in time for kids to go back to school in fall 2021? Given that the vaccine is first being administered to the elderly, then to adults, and then to children, it’s possible that kids of all ages may not receive the vaccine before fall 2021.
As of now, Pfizer and Moderna are still testing the vaccine on children. So, these tests need to finish before vaccinating kids of all ages. So, it may or may not be possible for all kids to be vaccinated by fall 2021. It’s not possible to say for sure. As a result, it may be necessary to continue taking the same measures—wearing masks, sanitizing/washing hands, and maintaining social distancing.
COVID-19 Vaccines Are Not 100% Effective
The other point is that, even though there is a vaccine, it has not proved to be 100% effective. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about 95% effective. Thus, a person could still get COVID-19 even after they’ve taken the vaccine. And since kids spend their entire day in classrooms filled with other kids, they are more at risk than, say, an adult who has his/her own office. This is yet another reason why it might be necessary for students and teachers to be wearing masks in fall 2021.
WHO Directive for Children Under 5 Wearing Masks
Of course, there are also arguments against children wearing masks. In fact, a directive from WHO states that children under 5 should not have to wear masks. This might seem self-explanatory. A child probably will not know how to wear a mask properly. The mask might get wet and dirty, and the child may not understand to replace it. Plus, the mask will interfere with breathing, as the child may not know at what point it’s ok to remove the mask, such as when they are running or playing sports.
What Are COVID-19 Rates in the School District?
When it comes to children ages 6-11, WHO advises a case-by-case analysis before deciding whether the child should wear a mask. Is there still widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the area? This is obviously the first question one needs to ask before deciding whether children should wear masks. Certain areas might be relatively COVID-free, in which case it may not be necessary for children to wear masks at all times. But in other areas, where COVID cases exist, schools require students and teachers to wear masks.
Will a Teacher Supervise Students Wearing Masks at All Times?
Additionally, one does need to have adequate supervision when children are wearing masks. Will a teacher be around at all times to make sure that the child wears the mask correctly? This is part of WHO’s directive with regard to children and mask-wearing. The point is that we need to make sure that, if children do have to wear masks, then they do so correctly and do not suffer any ill effects.
Pros and Cons of Children Wearing Masks at School
The fact is that there are pros and cons of mask-wearing. Wearing the mask will provide an additional layer of protection against COVID-19, in addition to vaccination and other precautionary measures. But it is difficult for anyone—adult or child—to keep wearing the mask all day long. As we move forward, it will become clear whether just taking the vaccine will be enough of a precaution or whether children will need to keep wearing masks when school begins.
Contact us to learn more about whether students and teachers will be wearing masks in fall 2021.