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WESTWOOD, Kan. — The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending everyone age two and up wear masks to school when classes resume in the fall.  

Local health experts agree and are extremely concerned about the spread of COVID-19’s delta variant when classes resume.

With school starting up again in about a month for most students in the metro, school districts have some time to revamp COVID-19 policies, including masking.

Like most of us, 6-year-old Hailey Ort doesn’t like wearing masks.

“It kind-of hurts my ears,” she said. 

Her mom Jennafer agrees.

“I don’t feel personally, like everyone needs to be wearing their mask in school,” she said.

Ort said she is not concerned for people who don’t have a lot of risk factors but is not upset by trying to look out for others who do. She will go with the flow.

“Just being able to interact with other kids and not necessarily have to have masks on all the time, which I think would be great,” Ort said.

Hailey’s parents and 5-year-old brother caught the virus last year and got through it fine.

“I was the only one in my whole family who did not get COVID,” Hailey said. “That was pretty amazing I got my COVID test but I still did not get COVID.”

Mother of two, Chrystal Fuller is worried about the Delta variant.

“For my children I do prefer that they do wear masks,” Fuller said. “Every little bit helps and for them to wear masks it’s no big deal. They’ve gotten used to it over the past year so until we get this straightened out that’s what they’re going to do.”

Local health experts agree. In the Johnson County COVID update Monday, the county’s health department said in the last three months, half of COVID-19 cases have been driven by outbreaks and kids are making up a much higher percentage of cases than before. Most of those infections coming from summer camps, athletic groups and daycares.

Half of school age children 5-17 are not eligible for the vaccine and in the 12-17 age group that is eligible, less than 40% are fully vaccinated.

Most metro school districts are sticking to their current masking policies, but said they regularly monitor guidance from local and state health officials.

The new recommendations will be a topic of discussion at the Shawnee Mission and Spring Hill School Board meetings July 26.