Public/Global Health

CDC clarifies mask guidance for schools

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the continued use of masks and social distancing in schools after issuing new guidance last week that stated vaccinated people do not need to wear masks.

On Saturday, the CDC released an Operational Strategy for K-12 schools in which it pointed to data that suggest schools that abide by mask mandates and social-distancing requirements have been able to safely remain open.

In the post clarifying mask guidance for schools, the CDC argued that schools need to make efforts to remain open as a way to combat “systemic health and social inequities” among students of color.

“The absence of in-person educational options might disadvantage children from all backgrounds, particularly children in low-resourced communities who might be at an educational disadvantage,” the CDC said. “These students might be less likely to have access to technology to facilitate virtual learning and more likely to rely on key school-supported resources such as school meal programs, special education and related services, counseling, and after-school programs.”

Children aged 12 to 15 years old were recently made eligible to receive the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. However, the CDC points out that full immunity is not achieved until two weeks after the last vaccine dose is administered and there is not enough time for eligible students to achieve full immunity before the school year ends.

The agency also said schools will likely need some time to adjust the policies they have put up in the past year in response to the pandemic.

“Systems and policy adjustments may be required for schools to change mask requirements for students and staff while continuing to ensure the safety of unvaccinated populations,” the CDC wrote.

Last week, the CDC issued new guidance that stated fully vaccinated people could go maskless both outdoors and indoors.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated, can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” Rochelle Walensky, director for the CDC, said during a briefing. “”If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

Tags Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mask guidance Rochelle Walensky ROchelle Walensky

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