Use in face masks in schools, some studies have questioned its effectiveness

by Maurizio Matteoli, clinical pediatrician, Sara Gandini, epidemiologist / biostatistician

There have always been doubts about the need to use masks except in specific contexts, doubts that, at the beginning of the pandemic, were shared by a part of the scientific community.

We remind you that they have been published two randomized clinical trials on aligners. Danmask (Published on archives internal medicine, very prestigious magazine) was designed to find out if there was a 50% reduction in positivity between mask wearers and non-wearers in Denmark. Result: no statistically significant differences. The cluster study, randomized in Bangladesh, evaluated the difference between arms as positive serology for symptomatic individuals and found 20 fewer cases among those wearing masks, observed over a period of 8 weeks. The authors say there is a 10% difference which has limits.

The strong doubts concern their effectiveness above all for outdoor use, but not only. There are even greater perplexities about the obligation imposed on children during school activity, especially those aged between 6 and 10 years. Also sui report delll’Ecdc we read that “In primary schools, the use of masks is recommended for teachers and other adults when physical distancing cannot be guaranteed, but it is not recommended for students. In secondary schools, the use of masks is recommended for both students and adults (masks for children> 12 years) living in areas with community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The use of masks should be seen as a complementary measure, rather than a stand-alone measure to prevent transmission within schools ”.

Recently the British government admitted that the evidence in favor of the use of masks in schools to reduce the spread of Covid is not “conclusive”. A government study in the fall did not provide evidence of a statistically significant impact and other studies did inconsistent results (you see Who, Who). The study included results from 123 schools in England that used face masks and compared with others that didn’t during the wave. Delta of Covid.

Schools where masks were used in October 2021 saw a two to three week later reduction in Covid absences 5.3% to 3% – a decrease of 2.3 percentage points. Absences dropped in schools that did not use face covers from 5.3% to 3.6% – a drop of 1.7 percentage points. The difference was not statistically significant. The publication also acknowledges that the use of masks could impair learning. 94% of school leaders and teachers also said it made communication between teachers and students more difficult.

For i children At this age, doubts about their use are based on the following reasons: the possibility of having eye contact with the faces of one’s companions is very important from the point of view of a balanced psychological development. Even the pedagogue Daniele Novara intervened several times to warn you to be careful. As Cicero said “The face is the mirror of the soul”, and being able to recognize and share emotions, whether positive or negative, not expressed verbally, is essential for the formation of a healthy sociability.

Secondly, to fulfill their task, the masks must be used correctly.

As theHigher Institute of Health in the guide he published, There are many precautions to be taken when using the masks and among them: wear the mask by touching only the elastics or the ties and taking care to do not touch the inside; position the mask correctly by adhering the upper wire to the nose and bringing it under the chin; if you have to move the mask, always handle it using the rubber bands or ties; if the mask is touched during use, hand hygiene must be repeated; after handling a used face mask, washing or hand hygiene etc.

Studies also very recent (like this one from the British government) do not show favorable results regarding the reduction of contagion with the use of masks in schools, but if the masks really avoided contact with the virus, another perplexity arises: the immune system of children of this age is in formation and needs to be “trained” in order to make them healthier adults and less susceptible to infections.

We are confident that the decision of “Sterilize” their life, because the masks act as a barrier (if useful in this sense) not only the coronavirus, but also all the other viruses, bacteria and fungi with which we all come into daily contact, is it a good idea? Isn’t it that by doing so you run the risk of making their immune system “weaker” which would need to be kept in constant exercise just as we keep their physique in exercise by making them play a sport?

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