Pediatricians say universal masking is “the best policy”

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) — The school year is upon us and with increasing COVID cases. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all students aged two and older wear masks for the upcoming school year.

dr. Nola Ernest, a pediatrician at Enterprise Pediatric Clinic, said she strongly believes that children should get back into the classroom with their peers and have the opportunity to learn personally.

COVID cases are increasing statewide and Dr. Ernest said schools are expected to reflect the same, to avoid that, students should take off their masks.

“To reduce that spread and give our kids the best chance at a full school year, universal masking is definitely the best policy,” said Dr. Ernest.

said Dr. Ernest. regardless of whether school districts choose to enforce universal masks, it is still very important that parents send their children back to school wearing masks.

“There is some belief that COVID is not very dangerous among children, but that is not true,” said Dr. Ernest.

According to Dr. Ernest, one in 100 children with COVID will be hospitalized.

“Children can also experience long-term or long-term COVID symptoms and so that’s something that we would never wish a child would experience if it could be prevented,” said Dr. Ernest.

She said masks are safe for children and do not impede breathing. She said there may be discomfort, but practice makes perfect.

“Pediatricians often talk about the Swiss cheese model of safety and the Swiss cheese model of safety is that every layer of protection we provide is not perfect, and masks are not perfect,” said Dr. Ernest. “There will be times when they can’t be worn, like at school lunches and there will be times when they’re worn incorrectly, but they’re an extra layer of protection and if we combine it with other layers of protection that also have holes in them, the chance decreases.” that all those holes line up and so the chances of getting COVID decrease as we add more layers of protection, including masks”

dr. Ernest said the pandemic has affected children’s physical, mental and emotional health.

“School provides opportunity for socialization and without that social interaction, many children have seen an increase in anxiety and depression symptoms,” said Dr. Ernest. “On top of the fact that many of their family members suffer from illnesses due to COVID, suffer from long term illnesses or even death due to COVID and this is very unbearable for children.”

Several students were forced to virtually navigate learning and missed routine therapies.

“Schools offer things like physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy for students and these are therapies that are very hard to do above virtual learning and so many students who need extra therapy just couldn’t get those opportunities during the school year,” says Dr. said Ernst.

dr. Ernest adds that some children with developmental problems cannot tolerate a mask — and that should be discussed with their pediatrician to come up with a solution.

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