The American Academy of Pediatrics issued recommendations Monday for the 2021-22 school year that include everyone older than age 2 wearing masks, regardless of vaccination status.

The academy also “strongly recommends” in-person learning and urges all who are eligible be vaccinated to protect against COVID-19. AAP said it amplifies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for building ventilation, testing, quarantining, cleaning and disinfection in the updated guidance.

Dr. Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health, said the pandemic has taken a “heartbreaking toll” on children.

“We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers — and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” O’Leary said.

The announcement comes as new coronavirus cases are rising across the nation. Infections rose in all 50 states on Sunday for the fourth day in a row on a rolling seven-day average, an ominous run not seen since the spring 2020 surge.

The weekly rolling average for cases in the United States has nearly tripled in the last month. The pace of deaths also is up sharply – 24.7% from its low point two weeks ago. It also comes as Canada is planning to reopen its borders to vaccinated Americans and guidance from both the CDC and State Department advising against traveling to the United Kingdom due to the growth of the contagious Delta variant.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2021/07/19/covid-vaccine-variant-mask-restrictions-hospitalizations/8008947002/

Written by: John Bacon, Elinor Aspegren, Christal Hayes