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Novant Health expert weighs in on masks in schools

An emergency medicine physician says he is concerned for schools that are not mandating masks.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Some school districts are still figuring out whether masks will be required this upcoming school year, while others have already made the call.

News 2 talked to a local health expert about the thought behind masking up in class.

Dr. Charles Bregier is an emergency medicine physician with Novant Health. He says he is concerned for schools that are not mandating masks.

He says those schools could be forced to shut down by local health departments if there are significant outbreaks.

 "We are not done with this war against the COVID virus. We have a new battle we are facing, we all need to preserve and keep our determination high," said Bregier. 

Several school districts in the Triad including Davidson County, Randolph County, Stokes County, and Wilkes County are making masks optional. 

Others, like Guilford County and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools - will require masks at the start of the year.

Dr. Charles Bregier with Novant Health encourages masks in schools. "If the Delta variant and other things continue to spread we're going to see even stronger language come from CDC and from state and local governments as to what can be done."

He says health officials are watching closely if the Delta variant spreads faster to pediatric patients than previous variants, but they are concerned that it can spread widely in younger populations.

"That's why we're very hopeful that in a short period of time the vaccines will be approved for a younger age group that the next age group I've been hearing is being considered and may not be more than a couple months away is the age five through 12 group," said Bregier. 

   

Dr. Bregier says they are seeing more children becoming ill with COVID. He added that most children don't get very sick but some can.

"Especially if they have comorbid conditions such as diabetes or some other particular problems."

Wednesday, The North Carolina Pediatric Society released a letter to North Carolina's School Boards and Superintendents. 

The letter, supports in-person instruction and indoor masking in schools. 

In a statement, The president of the society, Dr. Christoph Diasio said:

“Masking is especially important in North Carolina schools. The COVID vaccine is only authorized for children 12 and older so many children are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Of children aged 12 – 17, only 26% of NC teens are fully vaccinated."

 

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