COVID-19 in the United States: the rules for the use of masks in Miami schools change

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source: nytimes.com

With the increase in vaccination and a decrease in the number of new infections, the County School Board decided that wearing masks while students are outdoors will not be necessary. The superintendent wants to wear a mask to be optional at all times.

Effective immediately, students in Miami-Dade public schools (the largest school district in Florida and the fourth largest in the country) will choose to wear masks while they are doing outdoor activities, maintaining social distance, as determined by the County School Board. For the next two remaining weeks of the school year (before summer break), the rest of the COVID 19 protocols remain in place.

According to the experts who advise the school district, for these two weeks, it is convenient to maintain the requirement to wear masks at all times while students or school employees are indoors, as well as the new cleaning protocols or the separation of students in bubbles that don't mix, set at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic. The last day of school in Miami-Dade will be June 9.

The CDC itself (Centers for Disease Control, for its acronym in English) determined last week that those vaccinated do not need to wear masks at all times. Based on this recommendation, more than 25 states in the country have eliminated the requirement to wear masks covering the mouth and nose, including Florida, where, by decree of Governor Ron DeSantis, businesses or institutions cannot require the use of masks if you want.

But since children under the age of 12 cannot yet be vaccinated, schools were one of the only institutions where the constant requirement to wear masks was maintained. They are the only caveat made by the CDC in its new recommendations.

For the next school year, which will begin at the end of August, the superintendent of schools, Alberto Carvalho, has said that he believes that it will be convenient to use masks to be optional, even inside the classrooms.

"I feel reasonably comfortable and confident to announce that we are very close to the point where masks will be optional," Carvalho said at the last public meeting of the school system. Anyway, they assured me that this measure would be re-evaluated closer to the beginning of the new school year, consulting with medical specialists.

Meanwhile, the rule for summer classes and camps, which start in mid-June, is still in doubt.

Some school board members indicated that there were teachers who have complained of having to wear masks when they are fully immunized.

"I think this is a permit. If you want to stop wearing face masks outdoors, they can. But if there are parents who feel that masks are still necessary, then they can tell their children not to take them off," said Carvalho, putting the weight of the decision on the families.

Meanwhile, many authorities are focusing on vaccination. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has repeatedly asked that parents consider vaccinating their children over 12. For this simple process, the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami has used a mobile vaccination unit to vaccinate 12- to 17-year-olds on the streets of Miami. The idea is that the vaccine reaches the neighborhoods so that there is no need to travel.