From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
In updated guidance for the 2021-22 school year, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends in-person learning and urges all who are eligible to be vaccinated to protect against COVID-19.
In addition to vaccinations, the AAP recommends a layered approach to make school safe for all students, teachers and staff in the guidance here. That includes a recommendation that everyone older than age 2 wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
The AAP also amplifies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for building ventilation, testing, quarantining, cleaning and disinfection in the updated guidance.
AAP recommends universal masking because a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines, and masking is proven to reduce transmission of the virus and to protect those who are not vaccinated.
Many schools will not have a system to monitor vaccine status of students, teachers and staff, and some communities overall have low vaccination uptake where the virus may be circulating more prominently.
Research has shown that opening schools generally does not significantly increase community transmission with masking and other safety measures in place. Recently, COVID-19 variants have emerged that may increase the risk of transmission and result in worsening illness.
Given the effectiveness of safety precautions when used consistently, children are at higher risk of suffering mental health issues and developmental setbacks if they miss out on in-school learning, according to AAP.