JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Friday, the Mississippi State Medical Association called on all school districts in the state to mandate masks in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This latest surge, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, is running roughshod through communities, causing COVID-19 cases to rise to levels we haven’t seen since the peak of the pandemic–and putting the health and safety of children, families, educators, and school-based health care professionals at risk.

The danger the Delta variant presents for students, teachers, and the broader community—especially schools serving students who are currently unable to be vaccinated—makes it imperative that every school district mandate masks to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Mississippi State Medical Association is calling on all school districts to institute mandatory mask policies for students, faculty, and staff immediately. Many physicians who serve on school boards, parent-teacher associations, and health advisory committees have been advocating for policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory mask policies, for several weeks. It is time to heed their sage advice and ensure we are protecting our children and the people charged with nurturing their healthy development. 

We flattened the curve once. We can do it again. But we must use every tool available to stop the spread of COVID-19. Wearing masks has proven to be effective in keeping Mississippians safe, and we absolutely must do everything we can to keep our children safe. 

Mississippi State Medical Association

Many K-12 public school districts have opted to create their own policies requiring masks before the start of the year, but some have resisted.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has said he won’t put a blanket mask requirement in place. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Thursday they aren’t seeing “a lot of motivation for statewide mandates right now,” but urged schools to think carefully about what is the safest policy for their communities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.