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Doctors agree kids should wear masks in school, follow recommendation by American Academy of Pediatrics

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — To mask or not to mask is still up for debate.

This time, the question surrounds kids who will soon be back in school. The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance Monday and it’s different from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The AAP wants everyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask in the classroom, regardless of vaccination status.

Indiana doctors said it’s not just coronavirus they’re worried about. Riley Hospital for Children has seen a major increase in RSV, another respiratory virus.

Dr. John Christenson is the medical director of infection prevention at Riley. He says if kids wear masks, it will slow the spread of the Delta variant and decrease their chances of getting other sicknesses.

“We didn’t have an RSV season, a virus that is very common among infants, during its regular season during the winter,” Christenson said. “It’s occurring now in the summer and why is that? Because the mask mandates have been relaxed, there is no lockdown, everybody is getting together, everybody is playing together and now everybody is coming down with all these respiratory illnesses.”

Parents we talked to said they would be OK with schools requiring masks again, but because kids may not have to wear them other places, they worry enforcement won’t go so well.

“I know sometimes the mask are kind of, like my granddaughter, it’s kind of hot for her. So I’m kind of torn in between honestly,” Indianapolis resident Gyjuana Bryant said.

“I work on the peds ICU at Riley, actually, and we haven’t seen a lot of kids that have gotten really sick from COVID, but I have seen kids that have died from RSV and other viruses and I think right now it’s really hard but I think just try to encourage them to wear their masks,” Charissa Stegink, another Indianapolis resident, said.

We reached out to Indianapolis Public Schools to see if the district plans to require masks. A spokesperson said a decision would be announced in the coming days.