Dr. Marsh discusses mask guidance in schools for upcoming school year

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 2:31 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Dr. Clay Marsh, the West Virginia Coronavirus Czar, discussed guidance for wearing masks in schools for the upcoming school year during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Dr. Marsh says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends if people have been fully vaccinated and wait two weeks, they aren’t required to wear a mask. However, if you can’t determine vaccination status in a classroom and the prevalence of COVID-19 is high, it’s reasonable for everyone to wear a mask.

Both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest three feet of distance in the classroom.

The CDC recommends testing once a week for those who aren’t vaccinated and twice a week for athletes.

Dr. Marsh said “many children can be taught... to wear a mask pretty comfortably,” but it could be harder for certain children. However, Dr. Marsh said he will very strongly recommend that parents should look at unvaccinated children as they would look at themselves in a time before we had vaccines available.

He said health officials recommend physical distancing, washing hands, covering your cough and not going out if you’re sick.

According to Dr. Marsh, it is also important for parents and other people in environments of children to be fully vaccinated because parents protect children by being fully vaccinated themselves. The most important mitigation parents can take is getting vaccinated and making sure other family members that are around children are vaccinated as well, Dr. Marsh said.

Governor Justice said he thinks the discussion for schools requiring masks is “way too premature.” At this point, the governor said he has had no one come to him saying they’re going to require students to wear masks. He says it will go into the decision making model and there is a lot of local control for the districts. However, if school was going to start today, Governor Justice says he doesn’t believe there would be masks on any students.

This is a developing story.

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