This debate about masks in schools -- the debate is done. In the data right from the field, we have learned over the last two weeks that school districts that went back without fully masking everybody -- they're closing. We have numerous schools districts that have closed schools. — Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Public Health and a former top US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official
This debate about masks in schools -- the debate is done. In the data right from the field, we have learned over the last two weeks that school districts that went back without fully masking everybody -- they're closing. We have numerous schools districts that have closed schools. — Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Public Health and a former top US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official

Sending unmasked, unvaccinated kids into a poorly ventilated classroom is like holding the world's largest chickenpox party -- except instead of chickenpox it is the third leading cause of death last year. — Andy Beshear, Democratic governor of Kentucky
Sending unmasked, unvaccinated kids into a poorly ventilated classroom is like holding the world's largest chickenpox party -- except instead of chickenpox it is the third leading cause of death last year. — Andy Beshear, Democratic governor of Kentucky

Our kids need to be in the classroom full time, five days a week, and we have to do everything we can to make that happen. — Kate Brown, Democratic governor of Oregon
Our kids need to be in the classroom full time, five days a week, and we have to do everything we can to make that happen. — Kate Brown, Democratic governor of Oregon

You have got to create a safe environment, and there are a few ways of doing that. One of the safest ways is to surround the children with people who are vaccinated if they are eligible to be vaccinated. — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious diseases specialist
You have got to create a safe environment, and there are a few ways of doing that. One of the safest ways is to surround the children with people who are vaccinated if they are eligible to be vaccinated. — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious diseases specialist

New pandemic school year is a nightmare for parents and a new test for Biden
For so long, this fall was to be a milestone on the road back to normality, as schools fill with students, many of them returning for the first time after 17 months of online lessons -- an eternity for a young developing mind.

But the surge in the Delta variant came at just the wrong time -- plunging America back into its public health nightmare when it had seemed, even as a recently as a month ago, that the crisis was easing. The resurgence of the pandemic has led to extreme stress and concern among parents, who are desperate to send their children back to school but are conflicted by a natural instinct to keep them safe -- and who are leery of yet more disruption in the form of quarantines and isolation periods just as employers have begun nudging workers back to offices.

... The national scenario could hardly be more dire as classes begin.

... Most poignantly, the recent surge in cases -- and a variant that has sent more kids to hospitals than in the earlier waves of infection -- represents in many cases a dereliction of duty from older generations to protect the young. The refusal of many Americans to get vaccinated powered the Delta takeover that will make going back to school such an uncertain process -- for many kids and parents.

... Public health experts argue that while politicians like DeSantis say masks are uncomfortable for kids, they are indispensable to stopping the spread of Covid-19 and keeping schools open in the coming months.

"This debate about masks in schools -- the debate is done," Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Public Health and a former top US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official, said on "CNN Newsroom."

"In the data right from the field, we have learned over the last two weeks that school districts that went back without fully masking everybody -- they're closing. We have numerous schools districts that have closed schools."

... One Democratic governor swimming against the tide in a largely conservative state is Andy Beshear of Kentucky, where there are a record high 18 children in pediatric intensive care units with Covid-19.

"Sending unmasked, unvaccinated kids into a poorly ventilated classroom is like holding the world's largest chickenpox party -- except instead of chickenpox it is the third leading cause of death last year," Beshear told CNN's Kate Bolduan on Thursday.

The key to protecting children, especially those in elementary and middle schools who can't yet be vaccinated, is to keep them as safe as possible in a circle of adults who have had their inoculations. That is why some states are increasingly looking to provide that indirect level of protection for kids. Oregon, for instance, introduced a requirement on Thursday for K-12 educators, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by October 18 or six weeks after full approval of the vaccines by the US Food and Drug Administration, whichever is later.

"Our kids need to be in the classroom full time, five days a week, and we have to do everything we can to make that happen," said Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious diseases specialist, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" on Thursday that regulators were working to clear a vaccine for kids as soon as it was safe. But he warned that until then, masking and vaccines for adults were the best line of protection.

"You have got to create a safe environment, and there are a few ways of doing that," Fauci said. "One of the safest ways is to surround the children with people who are vaccinated if they are eligible to be vaccinated."

... But there are growing signs that with the virus raging out of control in many states and millions of kids again at risk of losing precious time in class, a majority of Americans are on board with basic precautions in schools.


In a Quinnipiac poll released earlier this month, 55% of Americans said the CDC's recommendation that all public school students, staff and teachers wear masks in school, regardless of vaccination status, was a good idea.
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/20/politics/biden-pandemic-school-year/index.html