In the face of numerous studies indicating harmful effects of children wearing facemasks, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Monday, July 19, updated its guidance for the upcoming school year. It now recommends that anyone over the age of two should wear facemasks inside schools “to protect against the spread of coronavirus, regardless of vaccination status.”

The AAP issued an official statement from its website, reporting the latest recommendations for reopening schools for the 2021 school year in the context of the pandemic caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus (COVID-19).

Among the updated prevention guidelines, it is emphasized that both teaching staff and all children over two years of age should wear masks in schools, regardless of vaccination status. This stance is even stricter than the Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) recommendation guidance. 

“We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers—and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” said Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health in a statement. “Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone,” she added.

According to the AAP, masking “reduces transmission of the virus,” which especially protects those who are not eligible for vaccination. However, the announcement is controversial in that it does not mention the negative consequences of the use of masks in children, especially for prolonged periods such as a school day.

A study published just three weeks ago by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlights the harmful effects of face masks in children. At the same time, the authors of the research advise against forcing children to wear face masks.

JAMA is a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association weekly since 1883. 

The study results were stark: wearing face masks causes children to inhale dangerous levels of carbon dioxide trapped behind the mask.

The researchers found that children who inhaled air while wearing masks were exposed to more than six times the legal safety limit for closed rooms, as set by the German Federal Environmental Office. The safety limit is 0.2%, while the air the masked children inhaled contained more than 1.3% carbon dioxide.

The effect was most detrimental to the youngest children, with one 7-year-old inhaling air containing 2.5% carbon dioxide, more than 12 times the safe limit.

The authors explained that this alarming result probably explains children’s complaints about wearing masks for prolonged periods, which can be understood as consequences of the elevated levels of carbon dioxide they inhaled and the discomfort that this generates in the body.

“This is because of the dead-space volume of the masks, which collects exhaled carbon dioxide quickly after a short time. This carbon dioxide mixes with fresh air and elevates the carbon dioxide content of inhaled air under the mask, and this was more pronounced in this study for younger children,” the researchers say.

The randomized study looked at two types of masks, FFP2 masks and surgical masks, finding no significant differences between the two. However, the study result has been redacted.