TMA Urges Student Masking, Vaccination as Delta Variant Spreads


As Texans plan for kids to return to school this fall, the Texas Medical Association and other state groups are calling for student protections as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spike due to the delta variant.  

In a joint statement released Wednesday, TMA, the Texas Pediatric Society (TPS), and Texas Public Health Coalition (TPHC) recommend parents and families follow new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. The advisories call for masking everyone in schools grades K-12 – regardless of vaccination status – and vaccinating all children ages 12 and up who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine to protect them and their families. 

In the statement, TMA President E. Linda Villarreal, MD, urged Texans “to take steps to safeguard children from surging COVID-19 infections,” including those who can’t be vaccinated.  

She pointed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s July 1 renewal of Texas’ disaster declaration and added, “The pandemic has not ended, and we physicians see it’s worsening as COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths increase once again,” mostly among unvaccinated Texans. 

“Let’s face it; if we don’t take action, the more infectious COVID-19 delta variant will spread among students when they gather together in schools,”  she said. “We urge use of every tool in our toolkit to protect children and their families from COVID-19. Those tools include vaccinating everyone who is eligible and getting all students to wear a mask to prevent spread of disease to others, especially those who cannot get the shot’s defense from the virus.” 

The physician and health care groups also suggest children get caught up on all vaccinations in preparation for school. 

“We want and need to have our children return to schools where they can learn and thrive. But we must ensure they are safe from disease spread to avoid outbreaks and disruptions that could keep kids out of school,” Dr. Villarreal said. 

To help increase awareness about the importance of vaccines, check out the latest materials available from TMA’s Vaccines Defend What Matters campaign, including this new shareable video reminding Texans why it's important to get all of their vaccinations, especially as kids head back to school.   

Last Updated On

July 29, 2021

Originally Published On

July 28, 2021

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