The entire world is well aware of how the covid-19 pandemic has transformed our lives. Wearing masks, staying at home, and maintaining social distance have become the new normal with the spread of this pandemic.
During the recent past, the spread of the covid-19 pandemic was much under control worldwide. Seeing this positivity, the parents and the teachers hoped that things would return to normal very soon and the pandemic might get under control in the upcoming years.
However, with the spread of the delta variant, the CDC and AAP make it necessary to wear masks for the students and the faculty.
In their latest press release, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all students over two years old must wear masks even though they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not.
Let’s discuss about the delta variant of COVID-19, how harmful it can be, and why the students, teachers, and the staff must continue wearing the masks, despite getting vaccinated. Stay connected to us and continue reading this guide to explore all helpful information about the spread of the delta variant the importance of wearing masks during this pandemic.
What is Delta Variant?
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting countries all over the world. The genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been emerging and circulating. Different variants of the virus occur when there is a change or mutation to the virus genes.
There is no doubt that the virus is changing because it is the nature of the RNA viruses to change continuously. The latest variant of the COVID-19 virus is the delta version and has contributed to a surge in cases all across the globe, especially in the U.S. Data from the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) suggest that more than 80 percent of the cases currently are the Delta variant.
Is Delta Variant Spreading Quickly?
Studies suggest that the delta variant of the virus is spreading much more quickly than its previous versions because of a higher viral load carried by the infected individuals. Furthermore, reports also claim that the delta variant is nearly 50% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
Previously, during the outbreak, an infected individual may have transmitted the virus to two or three people. However, with the latest Delta variant, the number of affected people may increase from five to nine, resulting in a greater spread of the virus from an infected person.
Should I Wear Masks to Avoid the Spread the COVID if I got vaccinated?
Many people question why there is a need to wear masks when I have got vaccinated against the COVID-19? Wearing masks is necessary irrespective of the fact you have got vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. Let’s find out why.
Studies suggest that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 pandemic produced similar results among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals if they got affected. Although vaccination makes it less likely to catch the virus, you will spread the virus as quickly as unvaccinated people if you get affected.
Hence, it is essential for all individuals to wear face masks whether they got vaccinated or not. When worn correctly, the face masks help in blocking the respiratory secretions produced by the wearer from contaminating other individuals and surfaces and hence, minimizes the transmission of the virus.
Wearing Masks is Necessary for Students and Other School Staff
Opening the schools is necessary because the online education system hasn’t yielded the results that were expected. With the schools opening after a long-time and students returning to the classes, the parents and teachers are concerned about spreading the recent delta variant of the covid-19 pandemic.
CDC is encouraging the local communities to be extra concerned regarding the health and safety of the students because most of them will not be eligible for the vaccinations before the start of the next school year.
Resuming schooling won’t significantly increase the pandemic spread if the guidance outlined by WHO, UNICEF, and CDC is followed.
Parents trust the schools and expect them to provide a safe, stimulating, and enriching environment for the children to learn and grow. Hence, it is the responsibility of the school administration to do everything possible to keep students safe and healthy.
The AAP recommends that school districts promote ethnic and social justice by ensuring the well-being of all children in the school during these challenging pandemic times.
The school administration needs to use science and data to make critical decisions for the health and betterment of the children attending the school during this time. All school administrations must implement the COVID-19 policies and keep in mind that these principles are to mitigate and not eliminate the risk.
What Strategies Can Help in Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19?
The school administrations must implement the following strategies to mitigate the risk of spreading the delta variant of the COVID-19.
- Make it compulsory for all eligible individuals to get vaccinated.
- Make it compulsory for all the students aged two years or above to wear face masks at school.
Why Is It Necessary to Implement Universal Masking Technique to Combat the Spread of Delta Variant of COVID-19?
The AAP has made it compulsory for the students and staff to wear a face mask in schools for the following reasons.
- Most students are not eligible for vaccination.
- To protect unvaccinated students from COVID-19 and reduces its transmission
- Lack of system to track vaccine status among students, teachers, and staff
- Possibility of low vaccination uptake in the surrounding school community
- Difficulty in monitoring and enforcing mask policies only for those who are not vaccinated. It becomes difficult to conduct this monitoring; hence, the best option is to execute the universal masking technique
- Probable chances for the spread of variants that are more easily spread among children, adolescents, and adults
An additional benefit of universal masking is protecting the students and staff from other respiratory illnesses, which would otherwise take students away from school.