- New studies assessed the impact of mask policies in American schools.
- They found that mask policies decreased the risk of Covid outbreaks.
- Masks effectively reduce the transmission of the virus among kids and teenagers.
New studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that US counties with masking policies in place in their schools have a lower risk of Covid-19 outbreaks compared to counties that do not have masking policies.
The United States-based research assessed the impact of masking in schools on new Covid-19 cases in learners from kindergarten to grade 12 across the country.
The CDC examined the difference between paediatric Covid-19 case rates in schools with and without school mask requirements. The researchers used data from 1 July to 4 September 2021.
The researchers developed inclusion criteria that the schools had to meet to be part of the study. This included a valid school start date in districts with known school mask requirements, a uniform mask requirement for all learners and at least three weeks with seven full days of case data after the beginning of the school year.
Masks lower Covid-19 risk
The study found that counties without mask requirements in schools experienced more significant increases in paediatric Covid-19 case rates after the start of school than counties with school mask requirements.
A similar study also found that counties were 3.5 times more likely to have Covid-19 outbreaks if they did not have a mask requirement when school started than schools requiring universal masking at the beginning of the school term.
“Universal masking is an important component in the recommended layered prevention strategy for schools, and this study continues to demonstrate that face masks, when used as part of the larger strategy, can reduce the spread of Covid-19 and prevent outbreaks in schools,” the CDC wrote.