“Today children, we’re going to talk about masks…”

No, just joking today we are going to discuss the use of a scientifically recognised mitigation against an airborne virus, like adults!

Let’s establish the important facts here;

  1. Covid is airborne
  2. Not everyone who has covid is aware that they have covid
  3. People who are infected (including children) can transmit their infection to other people via the air they breathe

With infection rates in the UK being higher than they were in September 2020, being indoors in any setting with members of other households holds an increased risk of exposure to infection.

There’s a few other important facts needed here;

  1. Children can and do contract covid
  2. Children can transmit covid
  3. Children are part of our communities, they live and mix with a diverse range of people
  4. Not all children who contract covid return to pre-infection health swiftly.

As children do not live in a child only bubble and they have families and interactions with other members of our community, we need to ensure that they are protected from being exposed to an increased risk of infection. Not only because we DO NOT want to unnecessarily infect our children with a novel virus who’s longterm effects are still not yet fully understood, but also because we want in-person education to be sustainable for all.

If only there were some simple internationally recognised, scientifically accepted mitigation that could be used to reduce the risk of exposure to infection when our children are placed for 6 hours a day in an indoor setting, where they mix with members of other households?

A-ha! There is! A simple and effective measure that is used by children around the world. In some places from the age of 2.

The UK is an outlier for refusing to mandate mask use for children in classrooms. We can agree that there is no biological difference in the make up of UK children compared to the biological make-up of children in other countries, surely. They breathe the same, their bodies react to viral infections in the same way.

Why would any adult who understands this feel that children should not be educated and encouraged to use a simple mitigation?

Perhaps more importantly, why would any school leadership team who has obligations regarding Health and Safety legislation NOT be ensuring that all in their school community are educated as to the reasons masks are worn and how best to use them?

We teach children far more complex things, so it is wholly possible to explain in an age-appropriate way the use of a scientifically recognised mitigation. We all wish that there were no need for mask use, however, unfortunately, wishing will not change the first three facts that are stated at the top of this blog!

Let’s start to look at ensuring we are protecting our school communities properly. Not just because Health and Safety legislation dictates that ALL risk must be identified and mitigated to the lowest practicable level, but because we want to ensure our school communities are safe, sustainable and fair to all.

Educate and encourage all within our school communities to use a simple but effective mitigation, please!

Further resources and information regarding mask usage

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Mask-Mythbusters.aspx

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-masks.html

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2776928

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2021.580150/full

https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/cloth-face-coverings/

https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-covid19/masks-a-twitter-thread-by-trisha-greenhalgh-professor-of-primary-care-health-sciences-r4915/

https://www.tes.com/news/coronavirus-how-masks-reduce-risk-transmission

https://www.chrichmond.org/blog/making-face-masks-fun-tips-for-helping-your-child-with-special-needs

https://www.who.int/images/default-source/health-topics/coronavirus/infographic—children-and-masks—eng354b7101dbd74f8c97ab14525a232095.png?sfvrsn=6febe3b4_1


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