According to revised guidelines issued Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students in grades K-12 who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will not need to wear masks to school this fall.
Their peers who haven’t received their vaccinations, on the other hand, should still wear masks, according to the CDC.
The new rules, which are suggestions rather than mandates, came after the CDC in May approved the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for use in children aged 12 and above.
Nonetheless, several school districts throughout the country have already withdrawn mask regulations ahead of the start of the 2021-22 school year, according to agency officials.
Due to the broad availability of vaccinations, the CDC reports that around 13% of counties throughout the US are reporting high levels of community coronavirus transmission, down from roughly 90% in December.
However, the organisation stated that this might change due to the continued spread of the virus’s more infectious Delta form.
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan by Congress, “schools have access to unprecedented resources to implement health and safety measures,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement endorsing the new CDC standards.
These measures will enable schools “to best accommodate students for full-time in-person learning, and to address our students’ social, emotional, and academic needs” while allowing students back into classrooms and school buildings to learn, he said.
The new CDC guidelines make no mention of how schools may and should gather reliable information about student and staff immunisation status.
As a result, “universal masking” remains the safest method of protecting individuals who have not been completely vaccinated, according to authorities.
According to CDC data, 24 percent of children aged 12 to 15 and 36 percent of those aged 16 and 17 are completely immunised in the United States.
However, 56% of parents of currently unvaccinated children ages 12 to 17 surveyed by the CDC reported they would “definitely” or “probably” have their children receive the shots.