“Our elementary school just became mask-optional, and I don’t know what to do! My 7 year-old daughter is vaccinated, but her 3 year-old brother is not. Should she mask up to protect him? Or are the risks low enough that it doesn’t really matter?”
As if we parents haven’t had enough anxiety about doing everything we can to keep our children safe during the past few years, recent changes to public health protective measures like masking have added to the stress of many, especially those with children too young to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. And there’s no denying that many parents and caregivers have experienced a wave of mixed emotions over the last several months.
I’ve heard from many who are concerned about allowing their vaccinated children to go mask-free at school when they have unvaccinated children at home. But while I know many of you want definitive answers, it’s important to remember that the decision-making process on this is nuanced, can be somewhat fluid and definitely is not “one size fits all.” Some families may wish to continue to mask and “see how things go” over the next month or so, and then decide what is most comfortable for their individual situation. That’s a totally reasonable position to take.
For those who are weighing the option, there are five key points I would encourage you to consider: