The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for K-12 schools by calling on them to reopen physical classrooms and not exclude students when minimum distance requirements cannot be maintained.
“Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall [of] 2021 is a priority,” the CDC stated Friday.
As there is no current vaccine for younger children, 2- to 11-year-olds should continue to wear masks indoors, especially in crowded settings and when physical distancing is not possible, CDC advised. It suggests concurrently implementing layered or multiple prevention strategies to protect the unvaccinated, including teachers, staff and other members of their households.
Where possible, CDC continues to recommend at least 3 feet of physical distance between students in classrooms, in combination with indoor mask-wearing by those who are unvaccinated.
CDC noted that vaccination continues to be the leading public health prevention strategy to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccines can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.
CDC pointed to new data that suggests the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads easily in indoor sports settings and households. It urges sports participants and staff especially to be vaccinated. It added that vaccination remains safe and effective for adolescents 12 years of age and older.
The guidance also calls on local governments to continue monitoring community transmission rates, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and outbreaks to help them make decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies.
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