Q&AZ: Should Arizona Kids Under 12 Go To School In Person?

By Rocio Hernandez
Published: Saturday, July 24, 2021 - 4:30pm
Updated: Saturday, July 24, 2021 - 5:00pm

child wearing a mask
KJZZ
Dr. Sean Elliott, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist in Tucson, says “kids can return to school safely if they can voluntarily wear a mask and if those who are able to do get vaccinated.

Arizona students are heading back to school as concerns grow over rising COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant. Through KJZZ's Q&AZ project, one listener asked what infectious disease experts recommend for children not old enough to get a vaccine: remote or in-person classes?

Currently, only children 12 and older are eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine. 

Dr. Sean Elliott, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist in Tucson, said the surge of COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant are concerning, but “kids can return to school safely if they can voluntarily wear a mask and if those who are able to do get vaccinated.” 

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And even though public schools are banned from mandating masks, Elliott said strong messaging supporting voluntary use of masks by school officials does help. 

He also encourages parents to emphasize the importance of frequent handwashing to their children, and make it a fun activity by singing the "ABC" song twice as they scrub. Alcohol-based hand gels also work for older kids who can rub till dry and do that safely, Elliott said. 

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