Strategies for parents
Dr. David Hunstad, infectious disease specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that masking is one strategy out of many to reduce transmission and that each school has different considerations when crafting its policies.
Hunstad says even at schools with mask-optional policies, parents should feel comfortable having their unvaccinated child wear a mask, especially if the child is in close contact with people who have chronic health conditions.
“If you as a parent are concerned about that, then please feel free to mask your child or ask your child to wear a mask and as much as possible,” he said. “And encourage your fellow parents in the school district or class to have their kids wear masks because that helps protect your child at the very least.”
Parents being vigilant in identifying when their child is sick will be key, he said.
“Really just having a low threshold for holding these kids out of school on a given day and getting tested, because I think that will be really an important piece,” he said.
To help answer parents questions about children and the COVID-19 vaccine, two pediatric infectious disease specialists with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Dr. Rachel Orscheln and Dr. Jason Newland, will host a livestream event on the hospital’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. Thursday. They’ll answer questions about how families can navigate the return to school.