CDC Releases New School Guide Highlighting Full Reopening

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In another shift, the CDC made it clear that masks may be optional for vaccinated people, in line with its recommendations for the public.

Still, the agency said schools may mandate universal masking if, for example, local cases increase or a school is unable to determine how many of its students and staff have been vaccinated. And he urged schools to “support people who are fully vaccinated but continue to wear masks.” The agency said students and staff in general do not need to be masked when outside.

The CDC also strongly urged schools to encourage vaccination, which the guide calls “one of the most critical strategies for helping schools safely continue their full operations.” Research shows that vaccines remain effective Against the Delta variant.

The country’s two major teachers’ unions, which have close ties to the Biden administration, praised the guidance. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, whose members in some cases fought to reopen schools last school year, said the recommendations were “based on both science and common sense.”

Still, both school and public health officials predicted the challenges ahead.

Ms Weingarten said the mask guide constitutes a specific test because classes with students aged 12 and over will likely include a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated students. Many officials in areas with low vaccination rates have already said they won’t need masks in schools – and at least eight states already prohibited such requirements.

Some parents who advocated the reopening of schools welcomed the new guidelines with relief. Meredith Dodson, whose son will start kindergarten in San Francisco this fall, organized a group of parents who spent her last school year fighting to open schools for the city. The city finally allowed elementary school students to return in mid-April, but most middle and high school students never made it.

“This is a big step in the right direction,” said Ms. Dodson.

Many schools have already largely or completely reverted to face-to-face learning. By mid-spring, the vast majority of districts had at least allowed younger students to return to classes, but many were only allowed to attend part-time, particularly on the West Coast. Many families—especially Asian-American, Black, and Hispanic families—have chosen to have their children study remotely.

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