Some doctors warn schools without face mask policy could see significant spread of COVID-19

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Some doctors in Wisconsin are concerned about kids heading back to the classrooms where masks are not required.

Dr. Greogory Demuri, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the UW School of Medicine, said not masking up could lead to significant spread both inside and outside the classroom. He worries this could potentially overwhelm the health care system.

"Without children masking, they are powder cakes waiting to ignite. Now, you might get lucky and a spark might not land in your school, but if it does, it's going to go like wildfire," Dr. Demuri said.

This is the first time schools will be open with the delta variant going around, which Dr. Demuri said spreads three to four times faster.

"The experiment is taking place right now in the South, where schools are opening without masks and we're seeing disastrous results of that. I hope Wisconsin schools are not part of this experiment and they take the safer road," Dr. Demuri said.

Dr. Demuri said not masking puts a lot of children at risk who are vulnerable to COVID-19. He hopes parents will take this into consideration when sending their kids off to school.

"We have a lot of children in school with disabilities and chronic medical issues. They are more at risk for COVID, more at risk for severe COVID and I think we have a duty to protect them," he said.

He also has concerns about kids taking the virus home to family members. Dr. Demuri recommends masking up yourself when heading into public places, even if you are vaccinated.

"I'm worried about children. Of course, I'm a pediatrician, but I'm also worried about the adults they expose. So, each kid can infect up to 10 adults with this new delta variant," he said.

Outside of face masks, he recommends schools adopt more mitigation efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

"It includes air flow and includes distancing as much as possible, getting kids as much as possible, and mitigation strategies when kids are eating because that's when they take their masks off," Dr. Demuri said.

Wearing a face mask is still required on school buses, regardless of the school district, because of a federal mandate.

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