CDC relaxes COVID-19 guidelines for summer camps

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) loosened its COVID-19 guidelines for summer camps Friday, saying that vaccinated staffers and adolescents do not need to wear masks.

The changes represent an update from the previous advice for all staffers and campers to wear face coverings, regardless of their vaccination status. 

Now, they would only need to wear masks in state or local areas with mask mandates or to follow local business or workplace guidance. Social distancing is also considered “not necessary” for fully vaccinated campers and staff.

The new summer camp guidance aligns with the CDC’s recommendations announced earlier this month stating that vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask in most settings.

But the CDC clarified that fully vaccinated people can wear masks if they choose to, saying camps should be “supportive” of that decision. 

The adjustments come as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have declined nationwide as more Americans get vaccinated. 

In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, opening up a younger demographic to COVID-19 shots. 

Children younger than 12 are not currently authorized to get the vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently only authorized for adults.  

Guidance for these younger children and other unvaccinated campers says they are “strongly encouraged” to wear masks outdoors when close to others for long periods of time and indoors. 

The CDC acknowledged that camps may decide to mandate masks when they cannot verify who is vaccinated and who is not. 

Updated 3:08 p.m.

Tags CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention face coverings Masks Pandemic summer camp

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