The CDC Has New Schools Guidelines—Will Districts Follow Them?

Soldiers patrol during a protest following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. Port-au-Prince. July 08, 2021. Image: Richard Pierrin/Getty
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Soldiers patrol during a protest following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. Port-au-Prince. July 08, 2021. Image: Richard Pierrin/Getty

The US CDC is calling for schools to reopen fully this fall—and that only unvaccinated students and staff need to mask up, according to new guidance released Friday.
 

The CDC's rationale; CIDRAP reports:

  • Kids’ COVID-19 symptoms are typically mild; and hospitalization and death are rare

  • A menu of prevention measures can keep cases at bay

  • In-person schooling is key to kids’ mental health

 
Community transmission and vaccination rates should be key metrics in schools’ decision-making—but inability to maintain all safety measures like 3 feet of social distancing should not, the CDC advised.
 
While awaiting CDC guidance, districts have made their own rules, which may or may not be swayed by these updates, USA Today reports. Snapshots:
 
California broke with the CDC and announced a mask requirement for schools
Rhode Island has dropped school mask mandates
Oregon and New Jersey are letting school districts decide.
 
Currently, only kids 12+ are eligible for vaccination, leaving much of the student population unprotected, The New York Times reports.
 
Future take: It’s unlikely there will be a vaccine mandate for kids until a vaccine receives full FDA approval—but it is likely COVID-19 vaccines will eventually become required like polio and measles inoculations.

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