One local infectious disease specialist’s plea to mask in schools

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One local infectious disease specialist’s plea to mask in schools
COVID cases on the rise for kids in Birmingham. Photo via unsplash

To mask or not to mask. It’s been the big debate in school systems across the Greater Birmingham Area as more children fall ill to COVID’s Delta variant. Here’s why one local infectious disease specialist at from UAB and Children’s of Alabama is expressing great concern.

In a UAB Medicine news conference on Tuesday, August 10, Dr. David Kimberlin, MD, co-director of UAB and Children’s of Alabama’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, made it clear he is highly concerned the delta variant will continue to spread to children. Especially for children under the age of 12 who are currently unable to be vaccinated, as well as those in school systems without mandatory masking.

“It doesn’t do us very much good to launch into a school year, only to have to stop in-person learning because the virus is running crazy throughout the school.”

Dr. David Kimberlin, MD/Co-Director, UAB and Children’s of Alabama’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases

What makes the Delta variant so worrisome?

COVID, COVID-19, Delta variant
COVID’s Delta variant is spreading quickly across Alabama and the US. Photo via Weill Cornell Medicine

According to Kimberlin, while we all have all seen what COVID-19 is capable of, there is a key difference between it and the Delta variant. 

“The difference is how incredibly transmissible the Delta variant is. It has mutated into a hyper transmissible, hyper infectious version of COVID. The only virus more transmissible and more easily spread than this new virus of the COVID virus is measles.

With a virus that is so transmission, it will make last year look tame.”

Dr. David Kimberlin, MD/Co-Director, UAB and Children’s of Alabama’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Current stats

On Wednesday, August 12, Children’s of Alabama posted the following on social media.

School systems decide

While Governor Kay Ivey said she would not force a mask order in Alabama’s schools for the 2021-2022 school year, some local area school systems have chosen to require mandatory masking, while others have opted for optional masking. 

Here’s what schools have opted to do so far:

How can schools help slow the spread of COVID in students? 

mask
Many Birmingham area schools are requiring mandatory masking for the 2021-2022 school year. Photo via Patience Itson for Bham Now

According to Kimberlin, there are several ways schools around the Greater Birmingham Area can help slow the spread of COVID and the Delta Variant. They include:

  • Masking
  • Contact tracing
  • Aggressive testing
  • Getting vaccinated if you are 12 years old or older

More information

For more information on COVID and how to keep kids safe, visit these links:

To avoid another city shut down, protect yourself, children and others, mask up Birmingham.

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Patience Itson
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