August 31, 2021
The California Medical Association (CMA) recently submitted a declaration with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in support of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles Board of Education, which are currently being sued by a group of parents seeking to overturn the district’s mask requirements.
CMA recommends and advocates for universal masks (subject to limited exemptions) and face coverings for the reopening and returning to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. CMA’s recommendation for universal masking is consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Schools are safe, stimulating and enriching places for children and teens to learn. We need to mitigate risk of COVID-19 transmission in order to keep all children and adolescents physically in school,” said pediatrician and CMA Board Chair Shannon Udovic-Constant, M.D., in the declaration. “While in-person classroom instruction creates increased public risk of COVID-19 transmission, there are modifications that mitigate the risk to an acceptable level. As such, it is vitally important that schools at all levels take all necessary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 to ensure schools can remain open and safe for all students.”
Requiring individuals to wear a mask or a face covering over their nose and mouth in the school (and larger community) setting is a public health measure individuals must take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
CMA is urging the court to reject the plaintiffs’ requested injunction, which would suspend LAUSD’s policy to require students to wear a mask or face covering. Issuing such an injunction would place LAUSD in a precarious situation, potentially undermining the months of careful reopening and progress, and would potentially irreparably harm the health and well-being of students, teachers, parents and the community. Suspending the LAUSD’s measures to control the spread of the virus and limit infections in the school setting would inhibit efforts to ensure children get the in-person learning that is critical to their intellectual development, and their physical and emotional health.