School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Universal Masking in K-12 Schools – A National Call To Action

Join the collective will of healthcare professionals and organizations imploring the CDC, Governors, and state and local boards of education to require universal masking in schools regardless of vaccination status by signing and sharing this petition. The Delta variant is highly contagious and there are more than 48 million students that are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine. If the goal is to truly keep our students safe, healthy and in school for face to face learning, we must employ the layered mitigation strategies that have proven protective from the virus. 

Sign and Share this Important Petition: Universal Masking in K-12 Schools : A National Call To Action

We call upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Governors, and state and local boards of education to safeguard our children from COVID-19 as they return to in-person school this fall. It is imperative to require universal masking in schools as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

We agree with the recent guidance from both the AAP and CDC, that in-person learning is superior for the academic and social development of children, yet the benefits of in-person learning are only as good as our ability to keep schools open. Universal masking must be required until the majority of students, staff, and teachers are vaccinated and local metrics determine when certain risk mitigation strategies are no longer needed. Additionally, we are concerned that in many states, the responsibility for interpreting and implementing the CDC’s masking guidance now rests with local school districts, who may feel pressured to prematurely abandon mitigation measures. Individual school districts also may lack the resources to enforce these measures, placing children, families, and communities at risk.

The safe and successful use of masks allowed millions of children to safely return to in-person learning during the last academic year. As the Delta variant spreads and cases increase in all 50 states, masks remain integral to the layered approach to COVID-19 prevention. Additionally, there have been multiple outbreaks in summer camps where masks and vaccines were not required. 

We need uniform guidance before schools can consider removing protective measures for the start of school this fall. Policies must take into account crucial metrics such as local vaccine rates and rises in case counts, hospitalizations, and contagious variants. 

Until K-12 schools meet a high enough threshold of vaccination for both students and staff, we must continue the layered approach that has been shown to keep school transmission rates low. Otherwise school outbreaks of COVID-19 are inevitable, leading to illness and subsequent disruptions to learning. We, the undersigned, implore the educational stakeholders to require universal masking in K-12 schools.

This letter is authored and endorsed by following healthcare organizations, healthcare professionals, and community leaders in addition to those in support of this petition.

On Behalf of the Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team (IMPACT):
Shikha Jain MD FACP, Eve Bloomgarden MD, Sheetal Khedkar Rao MD, Laura Zimmermann MD MS FACP, Amisha Wallia MD MS, Ali Khan MD MPP FACP, Halleh Akbarnia MD FACEP, Alyson Smith PA Pediatric Critical Care, Vineet Arora MD MAPP 

Megan Ranney MD MPH – Professor of Emergency Medicine, Brown University

Hala Sabry DO, MBA – Founder Physician Moms Group

Carmen Campbell, MD

Raquelle Akavan, PA-C – President & Founder PA Moms

Judith Guzman-Cottrill, DO – Professor,  Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Women in Medicine Summit

On Behalf of Science Whiz Liz: Elisabeth Marnik PhD

On Behalf of Your Friendly Neighborhood Epidemiologist: Rebecca J Heick PhD

On Behalf of Your Local Epidemiologist: Katelyn K. Jetelina, PhD MPH 

On Behalf of SciMoms: Alison Bernstein, PhD

On behalf of Unambiguous Science: Sabina Vohra-Miller, MSc

On behalf of The Relentless School Nurse: Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN

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