The measure would be taken in response to the increase in coronavirus cases that have been seen in minors in recent weeks.
The use of a mask has been one of the most controversial issues in the United States since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, as it has taken on political overtones and was even used a lot during the last presidential campaign between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Now the controversy could resurface as the delta variant of the coronavirus has increased the number of children who are infected by covid-19, which has led the authorities to raise the possibility of requesting the mandatory use of this element within schools.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, told CNN that state has the second highest rate of new cases per capita, after Louisiana.
“ The number of cases in our children’s hospitals is completely overwhelmed. Our pediatricians, the infirmary, the staff are exhausted and the children are suffering . This is absolutely devastating, our children are very affected. We’ve never seen numbers like this before, ”Marty said.
For a couple of weeks, there has been an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the United States due to the delta variant of the coronavirus, first discovered in India. The increase in cases is occurring at the same time that millions of children return to schools, which has made the authorities think about how to care for minors .
Despite the increase in cases, state and federal officials have not been able to reach an agreement to unify the measures to respond to the new wave of infections, which is why local districts have created and taken their own initiatives.
In Texas, the Houston Independent School District superintendent said he would move to demand masks when students return on August 23 , despite an executive order from Republican Governor Greg Abbott prohibiting school districts and other local officials require the use of a mask.
“We haven’t seen children crammed into pediatric ICUs across the South like we’re seeing now,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN.
On the other hand, as covid-19 cases increase in Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order last week , telling the state health and education departments to create rules that prevent the enforcement of the use of the mask in schools. Since then, two different lawsuits have been filed against DeSantis for the executive order.
On Friday , Florida’s Orange County Public Schools said they would require students to wear masks, except for those whose parents choose not to wear them with a signed note . Employees, visitors, volunteers and parents should also wear masks, the district said.
Similarly, Hillsborough County public schools will “require face covering” for the beginning of the school year, but parents may choose to exclude their children from the requirement, according to a statement from Superintendent Addison Davis.
“While the outcome may be the same whether we make masks optional or required with an opt-out, we believe this decision continues to illustrate that Hillsborough County Public Schools take public safety seriously,” Davis said.
In this regard, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who heads the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the face-to-face return to schools must be carried out safely and that for this it is necessary to implement efforts to contagion mitigation.
” The places where you see children in the hospital for the coronavirus are all places that are not taking mitigation strategies to keep our children safe ,” Walensky said.
The CDC recommends that all students, teachers, staff, and visitors wear masks in schools.
It is noteworthy that although the CDC says that 50% of the United States population is fully vaccinated, children under the age of 12 are not yet authorized to be vaccinated.