All children should wear a mask in school this fall even if they are vaccinated.
That's according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation released Monday, which takes a stricter position on masks than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this month.
One reason? The increase in the number of patients diagnosed with the delta variant of COVID-19.
"One of the essential measures to ensure safety in schools is universal masking. And even though some students may be vaccinated, it does offer good protection," said Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford.
Liu said the highly contagious delta variant is a concern.
"In school where most kids are not vaccinated, the delta variant can spread easily," she said.
While California already requires students, teachers and staff wear masks indoors, the state said they do not have to wear them outside. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, said kids might still need masks outdoors, depending on how close they are to each other.
Jin Chintalapoode, a mother in Los Gatos, supports the recommendations.
"It will be safer for kids, especially those under 12 who haven't been vaccinated as protection," she said.
Chintalapoode's 8-year-old daughter, Maya, said she is more than willing to wear a mask in school.
"I feel protected," she said. "I don't want to get anyone sick. I want to wear a mask."
Thousands of Bay Area students will head back to school in just a few weeks. It will be up to each district to determine how to enforce the state mask policy.