The CDC has shifted to weekly metrics, updated every Thursday by 8 p.m. ET at or (800-CDC-INFO). In Guilford County, community level risk of COVID transmission is currently LOW, though there are key spots in the world and the US that are experiencing surges with the BA.2 Omicron variant. People may choose to mask at any time, even though many communities are lifting mask mandates. Friends, particularly those at higher risk themselves or with household members who are at higher risk (eg, immunocompromised, pregnant, above the age of 65, or unvaccinated) are still encouraged to continue using masking, distancing, and ventilation to protect themselves in public spaces. See below for considerations specific to children. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.

Vaccines are your best protection against serious COVID disease, hospitalization, and death. A full course of vaccination includes 2 doses for those 5 years of age and above, plus a booster for those over 12 years of age. The FDA and CDC are waiting another few weeks for more data to consider COVID vaccination for children aged 6 months to 5 years. The next meeting of our COVID Medical Advisory Group will be on Tuesday March 29 at 1 p.m. We will be reviewing the building use recommendations at this meeting.

American Academy of Pediatrics Masking Recommendations for Families (Updated March 1, 2022) Excerpts:

AAP advises families to consider the following factors in making [the] decision [about whether to continue masking. There are potential benefits to masking]….

  • If their child is between ages 2 and 5 and currently ineligible for COVID-19 vaccine
  • If their child is immunocompromised and may not have a protective immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine, or is at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness
  • If their child is not immunized
  • If other members of their family are at higher risk of severe disease or are not immunized
  • If they live in a community with “high” COVID-19 transmission

These factors may lead adults and children to continue wearing face masks in public indoor settings, including schools, even if not required. According to the AAP, children, adolescents, and teachers who choose to continue wearing face masks in school settings should be supported in their decision to do so.