Universal masking in schools significantly lowers children’s chances of catching COVID-19, a recent Cincinnati Children’s Hospital study found.
Researcher Dr. Katherine Auger hopes the data convinces more parents and school districts of what she already knows: “We know that masks are safe, and they're relatively cheap, and there really aren't downsides to wearing masks.”
The Children’s Hospital study compared seven local school districts, tracking their rate of positive COVID-19 cases and whether they had implemented a universal mask requirement or only a partial one.
Fully masked districts had an average of 14.9 cases each week per 5,000 students. Partially masked districts saw a significantly higher 26.5 cases per 5,000 students.
“When you see this big difference in the number of cases, it seems like such a no-brainer that all the kids should be masking at schools,” Auger said.
Wyoming City Schools superintendent Tim Weber, whose district has a full masking requirement and participated in the study, said he’s confident they’re making the right choice.
“It was an easy choice for us to determine that full masking, universal masking, was important to us,” he said.
Weber added his district hopes it will be able to relax masking requirements soon, but he’s validated for now by the results of the Children’s Hospital study.
“It’s great to have this feedback and this information here a month into school, and we'll be interested to see how this continues,” he said.