BREAKING NEWS: CDC calls for schools to fully reopen in the fall but with social distancing and masks for pupils
- The CDC issued new guidance on Friday calling for K-12 schools to fully reopen in fall 2021
- Recommendations include all vaccinated children ages two and older wear masks and that desks are placed at least three feet apart
- The agency wrote on its website that ‘students benefit from in-person learning’ and that returning to classrooms is ‘a priority’
The federal health agency says this step should be taken even if schools cannot follow all recommended steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In the recommendations, the CDC say masks should be worn indoors by anyone over age two who is not fully vaccinated and desks should be placed three feet apart.
But, if social distancing would prevent schools from fully reopening, officials can use other strategies such as regular testing and increased ventilation.
What’s more, the CDC said that school district should use data from their local health departments to determine when to tighten or loosen public health measures.
‘Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority,’ the agency wrote.
The CDC issued new guidance on Friday calling for K-12 schools to fully reopen in fall 2021. Pictured: A child receives hand sanitizer while arriving at school, June 2021
Despite the fact that the Indian ‘Delta’ variant continues to spread, and that no vaccines are approved for children under age 12, many health officials said the guidance is the right decision.
Although children can contract COVID-19 and pass it on to adults, they are much less likely to fall severely ill and die.
Currently, children under age 18 make up 14 percent of all cases to date and just 0.1 percent of all Covid-related deaths in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Polls suggest that parents are 50/50 about vaccinating children.
‘For the first time, I really think they hit it on the nose,’ Dr Benjamin Linas, an infectious disease specialist at Boston University told The New York Times.
‘I think it’s science-based and right on the mark. I don’t want to send my 11-year-old to school without a mask yet, because Delta is out there.
‘And even if she’s not going to get severe Covid from Delta, I’m not ready to take that risk.’
Dr Erin Sauber-Schatz, a Commander in the United States Public Health Service, who helped write the CDC guidance, told The Times the recommendations started being drafted in May after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for ages 12 and up.
It relies on a multi-layered approach, meaning using several strategies to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.
This includes masks, social distancing, symptoms screenings, contact tracing, increasing ventilation, hand-washing and making sure anyone with signs of illness stays home.
‘We know that in-person learning is really important for school, for children, for their educational, social and emotional well-being, and so we really want to get kids back in the classroom,’ Sauber-Schatz told The Times.
‘Physical distancing is still a recommended strategy…[but not having enough space] should not keep children out of the classroom in the fall.’
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.