Cincinnati Children's is actively providing schools with information and expertise related to the health and well-being of children, as well as COVID-19 and precautions that can help slow its spread.

Guidance Also Applies to Teachers and Staff

Cincinnati Children’s recommends that all children returning to in-person school wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Many children are not yet eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and others should mask because no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infection.

In addition, teachers and staff should continue to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

While each school district must decide the best way to safeguard students, it’s important to note that masks are about 85% effective in preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Vaccines can provide even greater protection, but the federal government’s ongoing review of data from clinical trials may mean that children 11 and younger won’t be eligible for vaccination until late this year or early next year.

Cincinnati Children’s agrees with recent guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics that masks and vaccinations remain the most effective protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and risk of death from COVID-19. Hand washing and social distancing also can reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory viruses.

Cincinnati Children’s also agrees with the AAP on the importance of in-person learning for all children. Beyond academic instruction, the school environment plays a fundamental role in the healthy development of children – including social interaction, nutrition, mental health, social services and extracurricular activities.

Note that the impact of COVID-19 is evolving rapidly. This guidance reflects the current environment and will be updated as needed.

For more information about all kinds of vaccines, visit our Vaccine Resources section.


Reviewed July 27, 2021, by Joshua Schaffzin, MD, PhD, and Patricia Manning-Courtney, MD