Local doctors: Wear a mask, pediatricians write letter of support for mask use in schools

Published 8:44 am Thursday, August 12, 2021

Dozens of local physicians and various health care providers signed a letter to the Lake Charles community, supporting students wearing face masks indoors once they return for the upcoming school year, regardless of whether they are vaccinated from COVID-19.

The Pediatric Center of Southwest Louisiana posted the letter on its Facebook page Tuesday, mentioning that all pediatricians in Calcasieu Parish signed it. It states that strictly following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines will give children “the best chance to have a successful in-person school year and remain healthy in the process.”

“We know the mitigation measures being imposed are frustrating,” the letter reads. “Few feel the burden of this pandemic more than us in the health care community. Please continue to help our schools maintain accordance with expert recommendations for the duration of this pandemic.”

The letter also encourages students 12 and older, along with parents, teachers and supporting staff, to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Because of the age restrictions in administering the vaccine, the letter also recommends “social distancing, masking while indoors and promoting vaccinations of those eligible who come into contact with (students).”

The letter also supports the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that all students from kindergarten on up wear masks indoors.

At Tuesday’s Calcasieu Parish School Board meeting, more than 30 parents, some being health professionals, spoke out against mask mandates for students. None spoke in favor of masking students.

Also, 19 Republican state legislators signed a letter addressed to Gov. John Bel Edwards Monday, asking him to rescind his statewide mask mandate for students in grades K-12 and leave the decision on mitigation measures up to local school districts. Reps. Brett Geymann, R-Moss Bluff, and Phillip Tarver, R-Lake Charles, were among the lawmakers who signed the letter.