‘Mask Up for Kids’ campaign kicks off

Three child advocacy organizations in Georgia are launching an ad campaign encouraging both adults and children to wear masks to discourage the spread of COVID-19.

A series of public service announcements set to begin airing Tuesday features children too young to be vaccinated talking about adults in their lives – including teachers and school bus drivers – who are not able to take care of them due to illness.

“The adults charged with caring for our children are still getting sick,” said Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff, executive director of Voices for Georgia’s Children. “We know some school districts are running double bus routes because bus drivers are ill. We know central office staff in some districts are subbing in classrooms because they can’t find enough substitutes to cover sick teachers.

“Our children count on these people to get them to school, teach them at school, and get them home safely. If the adults in a child’s life are too ill to care of them, that puts children’s safety at risk.”

Voices for Georgia’s Children is being joined in the “Mask Up for Kids” campaign by the state chapter of the American Academy for Pediatrics and PARTNERS for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health.

“Wearing a mask isn’t fun,” said Dr. Veda Johnson of PARTNERS for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health. “It can be cumbersome and hot. But evidence shows it is a primary way to stop the spread of COVID-19 for children too young to be vaccinated.”

The public service announcements will run statewide on broadcast television as well as digital and social media.

Cases of COVID-19 have been coming down in Georgia in recent weeks after a summer surge. Nearly 1.25 million Georgians have been diagnosed with the virus since the coronavirus pandemic began in March of last year.

More than 82,000 Georgians have been hospitalized with COVID-19. The virus has been responsible for 27,142 confirmed or probable deaths.

This story available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

HOW TO GET VACCINATED: COVID-19 has killed more than 20,000 Georgia residents. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones die from a preventable virus. COVID vaccines are free and widely available statewide without insurance or identification. To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.