There have been a lot of twists and turns during this pandemic, but the right tools can help us adjust to this “New Normal” safely and confidently. The CDC continues to recommend indoor masking to lessen the chance of outbreaks.
Keeping the Classrooms Open
Many recognize that students need to return to in-person instruction, both for the sake of their own learning and the professional obligations of parents.
Unfortunately, there have already been outbreaks this year as schools returned to classroom instruction, especially in areas with inadequate mitigation measures and uneven vaccination rates. As a result, students and teachers have endured quarantines and time away from class.
The seasonal flu is also expected to return this year, compounding the issue.
These disruptions can be lessened by the adoption of proven mitigation strategies, such as masking. Having both students and faculty wear masks of standardized quality, instead of the mix of cloth and surgical masks, can make this strategy even more effective.
Safeguarding the Next Generation
Vaccines are still either unavailable for younger children and vaccination rates are uneven among the high school and university population. Even among the vaccinated, the CDC still recommends masking when indoors in high-risk areas.
Although the risks of severe hospitalization appear lower in the younger population, parents naturally are more vigilant with regards to their children and expect schools to take the best precautions possible.
Protecting students while in class also helps to protect the surrounding community, since students can bring infections back home to their parents or roommates.
The Delta variant has already surprised us before, and newer variants may continue to emerge to challenge the stability that students and teachers need. Masks are effective against all present and future variants, as long as they are adopted universally, worn properly and are of sound quality.
Upgrading masks is a proactive way to keep ahead of possible surprises.
An Investment in the Future
Given the current shortage of teachers, upgraded masks are also a wise investment to lessen time lost due to illness or quarantine.
They are also an investment in the reputation of a school as a safe place for parents to send their children and for potential hires to work.
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