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Southern Ill. school district reacts to American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation on universal masking

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:35 PM CDT
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VIENNA, Ill. (KFVS) - Earlier on Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccine status, should wear a mask in the classroom.

This came a month after the CDC loosened its requirements stating if you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to wear a mask in public settings.

Here in the Heartland, in at least one school district, we may not see any changes.

“As a public school in the state of Illinois in the United States of America, we’re going to be following the recommendations of the CDC guidance via Illinois department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education,” said Joshua Stafford, superintendent of the Vienna School District.

Stafford said District 13-3 will continue to follow the recommendations that are laid out by the state.

“The recommendations, currently, for public schools across the country is that those that are vaccinated that they don’t have to mask if they choose not to, but that’s still their choice. If they wanted to mask, they would be welcomed to do that. And that those that are vaccinated they recommend; however, they do not require that they be masked while in public schools,” said Stafford.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is wanting to get students back into the classroom saying, “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.”

Currently, vaccines are only offered to those ages 12 and up.

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes wearing masks in the classroom will reduce transmission for students and staff.

Currently, there are different views on what guidelines should look like.

According to the CDC, local schools, cities and other agencies will have the ability to make their own judgements on decisions.

“While we may see some variance in policy now that local controls been returned to the state of Illinois, I really trust that those local decisions are what’s best for that community in the context of that community,” said Stafford.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is also urging anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so.

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