The American Academy of Pediatrics, Colorado Chapter
Urges Gov Polis, CDPHE Executive Director Ryan, and Local Public Health Directors
to Incorporate New Safety Measures into School Guidance for Fall 2021
AAP Colorado’s letter calls for universal masking in all Colorado schools
Denver Colorado – Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Colorado Chapter (AAP-CO) sent a letter to Governor Jared Polis, CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan, and the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials urging immediate enactment of universal masking for all Colorado schools and child care settings, reflecting the AAP’s most recent guidance on safe, in-person learning, as well as CDC’s recommendations for fully vaccinated people.
“Colorado students need access to safe, uninterrupted learning this school year. The time has come for statewide action to make that happen,” states Edward C. (Ted) Maynard, MD, FAAP, AAP-CO Chapter President. “The current patchwork of school policies across the state will result in more COVID-19 cases, more transmission of the virus, more quarantines, and repeated school closures.”
The letter comes as Colorado experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases, and as the virus’s highly contagious Delta variant makes its way across the country. Increases in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have concerned medical and educational professionals, who wish to bring – and keep – children back into classrooms while minimizing the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak.
The AAP recommends universal masking in schools and child care centers at this time for the following reasons:
- a significant portion of the student population is not eligible for vaccination;
- to protect unvaccinated students from COVID-19 and reduce transmission;
- the lack of a system to monitor vaccine status among students, teachers, and staff;
- the difficulty in monitoring or enforcing mask policies for those who are not vaccinated;
- the problem of low vaccination uptake in some communities;
- concern for variants such as the Delta variant that are more easily spread among children, adolescents, and adults; and
- wearing masks is safe for kids ages 2 years and above.
“The most important thing we can do for children’s mental health and well-being is to keep them safely in their classrooms. We need strong and decisive leadership to protect young Coloradans and ensure safe, sustainable, in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year,” concluded Dr. Maynard.