Several states across the country are considering lifting mask mandates in schools in an attempt to return to some semblance of normalcy.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Delaware Gov. John Carney announced Monday that mask mandates in schools will come to an end in March. Illinois school districts will be deciding whether or not to make masks optional after a judge ruled against the state’s mandate.
Additionally, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order last month allowing parents to choose whether their child will wear a mask in schools, although it was temporarily halted by a judge Friday.
Experts say it is too soon to end mask mandates in schools because vaccination rates are not high enough yet among the school-age population and new cases are still being reported.
“It is not safe at this time for schools to rescind mask mandates [because] even though we do have decent levels of vaccination in the older age groups, as populations get younger, the proportion who are vaccinated gets lower,” Dr. Mercedes Carnethon, vice chair of the department of preventive medicine and a professor of epidemiology and pulmonary and critical care at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told ABC News.