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Masks or shots for children returning to school, parents divided over how to best protect students

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Posted at 4:17 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 19:13:56-04

BALTIMORE — 5-year-old Dylan starts kindergarten this fall and his 6-year-old sister, Chloe, will be in first grade.

Both will be wearing masks, but their mother, Brittany Turner, says she wouldn’t get them vaccinated even if it’s approved for children under 12, because she’s not convinced that it’s safe.

“I was about to get it, but then I actually looked it up some more to see if it’s FDA approved before I can get something that I don’t know about that’s going inside my body,” Turner told us.

Outside The ‘Y’ on Druid Hill Park Avenue, a LifeBridge Heath mobile unit has set up shop to provide back-to-school shots, including COVID shots for those 12 and over.

The ‘Y’s executive director says even though adult vaccinations have trailed off, the focus now is on school-aged children who may be more susceptible to the delta variant.

“Each school system, just like with masking, has been really putting out some different things,” said Ashley Funk. “and so I think, just as a precaution, many parents are, if they are able and they feel comfortable, they are looking for opportunities to definitely get their kids vaccinated.”

But that comfort level isn’t sufficient for some to drop their masks just yet…shot or no shot.

“I am fully vaccinated, but I’m still wearing my mask, because again everybody is choosing not to be vaccinated so I’m not with this, ‘I’m vaccinated so I don’t have to wear my mask’,” said Teresa Streeter-Buster of West Baltimore.

And for Brittany Turner’s children, it will be required whether the school system mandates it or not.

“I prefer for them to wear their masks just in case someone is sick,” said Turner.