Coronavirus cases in the United States are on the rise, so much so that some school districts, especially in the northeast of the country, decided to resume the requirements and recommendations for the use of chinstraps for the first time since the winter rebound ended due to the omicron variant. , and at a time when the nation is approaching one million deaths from the pandemic.
The return of masks in schools is not as widespread as in the early part of the pandemic, especially now that public concern about the virus has subsided.
But districts in Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have resumed wearing masks, and some districts in Massachusetts are also recommending them even with the school year still just weeks away.
Maine’s largest school district, in Portland, this week announced the return of masks, with Superintendent Xavier Botana saying it was “the safest thing to do right now” amid the increased infections.
Schools in Bangor, Maine, also resumed the universal requirement for masks.
In several school districts in the United States, children must return to wearing a mask at school. Photo: Reuters
High schools in suburban Pittsburgh and in Montclair, New Jersey, have also announced the return of masks, though only for this week.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of the country’s counties considered to have “elevated” levels of Covid-19 are in the Northeast.
Officials are also recommending the use of face masks in schools in parts of Massachusetts that have seen high levels of Covid-19 infection.
praise and criticism
Reactions have ranged from support to annoyance. On the Facebook page of Woodland Hills High School in suburban Pittsburgh, a woman called the change “absurd.”
Diana Martinez and Owen Cornwall, who have a daughter who is in first grade at Graham and Parks School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have been complying with recommendations to wear masks.
Boys at a school in Harbor City, near Los Angeles, California, in August of last year. Photo: EFE
“We’re very happy with this. It gives us a little peace of mind,” said Martinez, 43, a professor at Tufts University.
“I think parents generally tend to wear them and that puts us at ease. It’s the same in our preschool. There will be a couple of parents who won’t put masks on their kids, but we will,” he added.
Daily reported cases in the United States average 79,000, up 50% from two weeks ago, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. This is a fraction of the number of daily cases registered a few months ago, when they exceeded 800,000.
The United States is approaching one million deaths from Covid-19.
Worldwide, there have been more than 6 million deaths in the pandemic, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.
By Steve LeBlanc and Mike Catalini, AP agency