NC health officials to issue updated mask guidance for schools this week

North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN/WAVY) — A group of pediatricians is recommending everyone over the age of two wear a mask in schools regardless of their vaccination status. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is different from the CDC guidance from just over a week ago saying vaccinated students and teachers are not required to wear masks.

Dr. David Wohl, an infectious disease specialist at UNC, said he believes the pediatric group is concerned with recent trends.

Wohl said the CDC left the door open for mask requirements in schools. He said the CDC guidance didn’t say vaccinated people should not wear masks, just that they are not required to.

“These are not two different groups saying two different things,” Wohl said. “They’re saying basically the same thing, I think the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying it a little bit more strenuously than the CDC, and the CDC may also come around to that especially as Delta spreads.”

He agrees with AAP’s recommendation that everyone over the age of two years old should wear a mask in school, even if they are vaccinated.

“The key thing is when you start having just a few cases, you know, in a school, that school changes,” Wohl said. “Things get closed down, we don’t need that.”

A spokesperson from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) said the department will be sharing updated guidance for schools this week.

A North Carolina COVID-19 news conference is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. It will be live streamed.

According to state vaccination data, children ages 12 to 17 make up 5 percent of people with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 8 percent of the total population.

Zack Moore, a state epidemiologist with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said by the end of the month nearly all cases will be the Delta variant.

“We’ve gone from just a few, you know, very small percentage of all of our viruses being Delta variant, to now over 75 percent of the viruses that we’re sequencing being Delta variant,” Moore said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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