CDC: No change to COVID measures through end of school year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there isn't enough time for schools to adequately adjust their policies and procedures to ensure safety.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention guidance to reflect that schools should continue to follow the agency’s recommended prevention measures against COVID-19 for the remainder of SY 2020-21.

While the CDC relaxed rules for mask-wearing and social distancing for fully vaccinated individuals on May 13, officials said that the conditions that would allow relaxing those measures in school don’t exist yet, as vaccines were only approved for children from ages 12-15 recently and there isn’t enough time for those eligible to be considered “fully vaccinated,” which doesn’t occur until two weeks after the last dose, by the end of the school year. In addition, CDC says there isn’t enough time for schools to adequately adjust their policies and procedures to “change mask requirements for students and staff while continuing to ensure the safety of unvaccinated populations.”

Related: Here’s how schools are reacting to new CDC mask rules

The guidance says schools should continue to utilize a layered system of prevention, which includes:

1. Universal and correct use of masks.

2. Physical distancing.

3. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette.

4. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities.

5. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine.

The CDC says it will release updated school guidance in the coming weeks that schools will be able to use to plan for school year 2021-22.

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for LRP Publications

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Charles Hendrix
Charles Hendrix
Charles Hendrix has been writing about federal K-12 education policy, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, since 2006, and has in-depth knowledge of Capitol Hill and the federal legislative process. He is a senior editor with LRP Publications and the author of What Do I Do When® The Answer Book on Title I – Fourth Edition. He lives in South Florida with his son and their trusted chiweenie, Junior.

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