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Pencils, notebooks, masks

The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending masks for the coming school year.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that all children wear masks this upcoming school year. 

It's important to remember that the AAP considers anyone 18 and younger a pediatric patient. 

Dr. Rosemary Olivero, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, says between the Delta variant and the fact that vaccinating our children under the age of 12 is still a few months away, it's important to take every precaution, including requiring masks at school. 

"We want to focus on not only children's health and wellbeing and their ability to stay within schools without interruptions to operations because of COVID-19 outbreaks, but then also remembering the scope of the pandemic in general," said Olivero. "Remembering that children are making up the majority of unvaccinated persons and they really are the areas that new variants could run free and emerge."  

And since most children have been enjoying a mask-free summer, here are some tips from Dr. Olivero for getting them used to wearing them again:

  •  Talk to your kids now about wearing masks when they go back to school.
  •  Make sure their masks still fit.
  •  Try different types of material to see which one works best for your child.
  •  Have a training period for your child. Start with one or two hours at a time and work up from there.

If you are planning to vaccinate your child against COVID-19 before the school year, you'll want to do it in the next few weeks. 

This Friday would be the last day to vaccinate if your child starts school at the end of August and you want them fully vaccinated for their first day.

You can find available COVID-19 vaccination clinics at vaccinatewestmichigan.com

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