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.”
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
More from DA