One of the biggest social challenges in the wake of COVID-19 in American society is figuring out how to safely educate children during the pandemic. And one of the most efficient solutions is so simple: a cloth mask, worn over the nose and mouth, to keep the infection spreading from breathing, coughing, and sneezing. Whenever an individual over the age of two years of age is in public or in close proximity to other individuals not within their household, they should be wearing a mask, according to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control.
Two years old is a hard cut off, as kids at that age are less likely to choke or have their breathing impaired by the use of a face mask than younger children. They are also more likely to be socializing in less than six feet from each other (Have you been to a children’s museum? All the hugging, grabbing, touching — yikes!), and are still learning how to act in social settings, let alone the pandemic situation.
Children need to be wearing masks in public, especially as the demand for school reopenings continues, even though many schools in the United States are continuing to operate through distance learning as the school year begins. As young children learn best through social interaction and play, their need for in-person learning is crucial, and the need for keeping children in school and socializing is a concern of working parents (many of whom are faced with the impossible choice of doing their jobs or staying home with their children at this time), psychologists, and some physicians. If it just requires a simple mask, perhaps it is easier to pretend Halloween has come early.