According to updated CDC guidelines, students above the age of twelve will not be required to wear masks during the new school year this fall if they are fully-vaccinated.
However, as vaccines are not available for children below the age of twelve, those students are encouraged to continue safety measures such as wearing masks, hand washing, social distancing, and regular COVID testing.
The updated guideline says students benefit from in-person learning and getting them safely back into the classroom should be a priority.
Masks should also continue to worn indoors by children two years and above, as the correct utilization of masks by those individuals who are not fully-vaccinated is “especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
The updated guidelines are not mandatory. Some states have their own mandates that require every student , whether vaccinated or not, to wear masks while at school. Other states, such as Texas, Iowa, and Arizona, have barred school officials from wearing masks.
The American Federation of Teachers president, Randi Weingarten released a statement praising the updated guidelines as “grounded in both science and common sense.”
“It takes what we’ve learned about COVID transmission in the last few months – from in-school learning, camps and the efficacy of vaccines – and charts a course for schools to fully reopen this fall.
“The guidance confirms two truths: that students learn better in the classroom, and that vaccines remain our best bet to stop the spread of this virus, and get our kids and educators fully back to those classrooms for in-person learning. It also makes clear that masking is important in the absence of vaccination.”
Sources: CDC.gov, AP News, Aft.org.