Kansas City-area parents, pediatricians react to CDC’s new back-to-school guidance

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread throughout the Kansas City metro, Christine Kane, a mother of three, said she feels confident sending her sons back to school.

“My kid’s school was in person the entire time and so we had really good results with that while we wore masks,” Kane, who lives in Kansas City, said. “So I think we’ll continue that. We’ll follow what our school district says.”

Since all three of Kane’s sons are under the age of 12, she understands the risks of not wearing a mask.

“I think with masks and safe distance and social distance and safe hygiene that we will be able to knock this out of the park too,” Kane said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new back-to-school guidelines on Friday stating that students who are 12 years old or older and fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks in school. Students who are 2 years old or older and not vaccinated should still wear masks.

Dr. Angela Myers, division director for infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy, said it’s important that families like Kane’s follow these recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant.

“Regardless of whether or not physical distancing can occur, have that mask on your face covering your nose and your mouth so that you are much less likely not to inhale someone else’s respiratory particles,” Myers said.

However, for parents who still are concerned about safely sending their children back to school, Myers said to talk with school district officials.

“Are they having kids masked or not masked? Are they able to do the physical distancing or not?” Myers said. “What are they doing in the lunchroom? Are they stressing hand hygiene?”

Aside from following previous CDC recommendations, Myers said parents should be transparent with their child’s pediatrician about hesitations to vaccinate their children if they have not already done so.

‘Please talk to your pediatrician or your child’s primary care provider about your concerns, about your questions about the vaccine or even about the delta variant,” Myers said, “and walk through the process with them on what to do for your child this school year.”

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