Editorial: Masking to prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools

As we approach the third winter since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unknown how COVID-19 will impact the 2022-23 school year.

In an editorial in the in the American Journal of Public Health, ISPH Investigators Chloe Teasdale and Sasha Fleary discuss a new study from researchers at the CDC, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the University of Wisconsin comparing the effectiveness of COVID-19 mitigation strategies in Wisconsin school districts in the fall of 2021.

The study found that during a period of high infection rates, the combination of masking and vaccination provided stronger protection than vaccination alone.

Teasdale and Fleary say the study demonstrates that reliance on local decision-making about critical public health measures left many schools unprotected from COVID-19 and created inequities in risk for Wisconsin’s children and educators.

“Protecting public health is one of the fundamental responsibilities of governments, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that many state governments need to take stronger actions to protect the health of all of their citizens,” they write.

Read the full editorial here.

Chloe A. Teasdale, Sasha A. Fleary, Effect of masking to prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools and the responsibility of states to protect public health. American Journal of Public Health, 2022;112(12): 1696–1698.