NEW CDC GUIDELINES SAY SCHOOL CHILDREN SHOULD STILL WEAR MASKS THIS FALL UNLESS THEY GET VACCINATED
by Kevin Ryan, July 9, 2021
The CDC today released new guidelines encouraging all schools to open for in-school instruction. However, the CDC is also recommending that unvaccinated students continue mask-wearing. “Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated,” the guidance reads.
This effectively means that the CDC is recommending that all school children under the age of 12 continue wearing masks, since none of the currently-approved vaccines are available for children under 12.
“The message is really, if your child is eligible for vaccine, the time to get vaccinated is now,” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, a CDC official who oversaw the school guidance. Since the shots are spaced three weeks apart, teens would have to get their first shot very soon.
Today’s guidance also says schools may opt for a universal mask requirement if they don’t want to require “verification” students have been vaccinated.
However, some states now have laws prohibiting mask requirements. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), for example, recently signed legislation that prohibits local counties and school districts from requiring students or staff to wear face coverings.
The CDC acknowledges that many jurisdictions are planning to forgo mask mandates, and makes clear that it will be up to schools and local officials to decide what to do on each of the above issues. It also stresses that its recommendations shouldn’t prevent classrooms from reopening.