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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Statewide Pediatrician Group Recommends Mandatory Masks In Schools

It's urging universal mask use with children under 12 unable to receive a vaccine and cases rising in Florida.

A statewide group of pediatricians is urging that all children wear masks during the upcoming school year.

The Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a release on Thursday urging the "universal use of masks and physical distancing" as coronavirus cases continue to spike across the state.

The recommendation includes mask use by students, faculty and staff.

"Masking should be in addition to the continuation of testing protocols in schools to mitigate the spread of infection," the statement said in part.

The organization said the use of face masks is necessary since children 12 and under cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and likely will not be eligible "until winter of 2021," the statement read.

It also recommends vaccines for all eligible children, faculty and staff.

Thursday's statement comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelnes and recommended that all teachers, staff and students of K-12 schools wear masks, even if they are vaccinated.

Before the CDC change, the national American Academy of Pediatrics released similar updated guidance on masking.

Cases continue to surge in Florida due to the delta variant, with the CDC reporting 17,589 new COVID-19 cases and 56 deaths in its reported Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has continued to push back against the idea of mandatory face masks.

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