Two studies released on Friday support the agency’s recommendation that masks should be universally worn in schools.
One study in Arizona showed that schools that do not have a requirement to wear protective masks are about 3 and a half times more likely to have cases of “Corona” than schools that require people to wear masks.
A second study showed that counties across the United States where schools require the use of masks also showed lower transmission of the virus in the community at large.
For the first study, the researchers looked at data covering nearly 1,000 schools in Arizona’s Maricopa and Pima counties, where more than three-quarters of the state’s residents live.
The school considered that it has strict instructions to wear masks if all people – including students, staff, faculty and visitors – are required to wear a mask indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. An outbreak within a school was recorded if there were two or more cases of infection among students or staff during a 14-day period, starting a week after the start of school.
From mid-July through the end of August, there were 191 school-related outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Schools with blanket mask requirements made up about 31 percent of the group of schools analyzed, but only about 8 percent of outbreaks. Meanwhile, schools that do not follow the requirements to wear masks accounted for about 59 percent of the outbreaks.
In early August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised recommendations for masks in schools to include everyone, regardless of vaccination status, due to the prevalence of the more contagious “delta” variant.
“I would say the data really does show that masks are reducing outbreaks in schools,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walinsky.
“So in order to keep our children in school, and to provide safety, masks are really the way to do that,” she added.
Another study by the Centers for Disease Control notes that the impact of school mask-wearing policy appears to extend beyond classroom walls as well.
The study found that the rate of infections among children increased more in counties where schools did not have mask-wearing requirements than in counties where schools did so comprehensively.
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