After more than a year in which many students were learning remotely, children and educators should expect to resume in-person, full-time classes, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC on Friday. from the United States, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
“We have the capacity now, between vaccines and testing, screening, we think schools can and should be a very safe place that people can go back to in the fall,” Walensky said.
This week marked a major change in the culture of the pandemic in the United States.
Not only have the US Food and Drug Administration and the CDC expanded the authorization of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for people as young as 12 years old, but the CDC has also revised the guidelines for the use of masks.
“People who have been vaccinated should feel perfectly comfortable going indoors without a mask,” Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday.
But while a lot is changing for those who have been vaccinated, those who haven’t may find things looking the same as last year, experts said.
What do you think of the CDC’s new mask guide?
Children who are not yet vaccinated will still need to wear masks in the classroom, Fauci said, adding that he could “almost guarantee” that most schools will need them.
Even vaccinated teachers can still wear masks if they are around unvaccinated students, vaccine expert Dr Paul Offit said on Friday.
“If you’re with a lot of kids who don’t wear masks, who can definitely get this infection – about 24% of infections right now in the US are children – I guess if I were a teacher I would choose to wear a mask, ”Offit told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
2.4 million children vaccinated
Experts attributed the positive changes to the drop in the number of coronavirus cases and the increase in vaccinations.
More than 155 million people have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, including about 2.4 million children under the age of 18, according to data released by the CDC on Friday.
That means 55% of people 12 and older have received at least one dose, according to CDC data.
In the meantime, authorities have devised strategies to convince more teenagers to get vaccinated, especially since this usually means having to convince their parents.
Almost all states require some form of parental or guardian consent for vaccine suppliers to administer Covid-19 injections to adolescents aged 12 to 15, according to a CNN analysis.
But there are a few exceptions. Five states – Alabama, Iowa, North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee – allow certain ages in this group to consent on their own or leave the requirements to individual vaccine providers.
Another goal of officials is to make sure vaccines are given to children ages 12 to 15 fairly, CDC vaccine advisers said on Friday.
Resolve the social isolation of the distant school
The effort to immunize children and adolescents could have an impact just as important on their social health as on their physical health.
One of the biggest losses for students over the past year has been social isolation, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten told CNN, adding that resources will need to be devoted to this issue.
Speaking to CNN’s John Berman, Weingarten said she believed students would be able to recover academically, but the loss of in-person social interaction has been one of the worst aspects of learning. remotely.
“There are kids who have done really well from a distance,” Weingarten said. “But what has really been lost is peer-to-peer contact. What has really been lost are the lingering effects of social isolation. “
She also noted that the pandemic had highlighted the huge inequalities within the education system and that it was crucial to provide more resources to schools that were not doing well before Covid-19.
Where are the states on the mask guidance?
Following the CDC’s decision Thursday to advise that masks should not be worn indoors for those who are vaccinated, many state leaders quickly revised their own guidelines.
After holding back from reviewing CDC guidelines, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Friday the state was relaxing its Covid-19 measures.
“With immediate effect, we are lifting all mandatory capabilities and collection limits, social distancing requirements and most mandatory mask requirements,” Cooper said. “This means that in most indoor or outdoor environments, the state of North Carolina will no longer require you to wear a mask or be socially distant. “
Colorado also initially suspended the changes. But on Friday, Governor Jared Polis announced the state was moving from a mask mandate to a mask suggestion.
“We are delighted with the recent directions of the CDC,” Polis said at a press conference on Friday. “We are able to truly embrace this science-based judgment by the CDC, which we agree with. “
Costco also said on Friday that customers vaccinated against Covid-19 can shop without a mask in places in the United States where there is no national or local mask warrant.
CNN’s Virginia Langmaid, Lauren Mascarenhas, Deidre McPhillips, Jacqueline Howard, Maggie Fox, Taylor Romine, Kelsie Smith and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.