Fully immunized students, teachers and staff do not need to wear masks in school. For those who are not vaccinated or are not eligible, consistent and correct masking remains an important safety measure, the agency said.
The CDC says its guidelines do not replace local guidelines and policies. Schools that are prepared to move away from pandemic precautions should do so gradually, the agency said, as community transmission reaches low levels.
“If localities decide to remove prevention strategies in schools based on local conditions, they should remove them one at a time and closely monitor (with adequate testing) any increase in COVID-19 cases before removing the next prevention strategy, ”says the guide. , adding that schools must be transparent with families, staff and the community.
While those vaccinated can do without a mask, the agency recommends that unvaccinated people over 2 years old wear masks when indoors.
In general, people do not need to wear masks outdoors, but in areas with high coronavirus transmission, people who are not fully vaccinated may still want to wear them under certain circumstances.
“Consistent and correct use of the mask by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded places, when physical distance cannot be maintained,” notes the CDC.
Depending on local conditions – for example, in a school where students are not yet eligible for vaccines or in an area with high transmission – schools may still choose to require a universal mask, even for those who are vaccinated. And, according to the CDC, schools should still support vaccinated people who choose to wear a mask.
Layers of protection
The CDC guidelines detail the different ways schools can prevent the spread while remaining open for in-person learning: “Screening, ventilation, hand washing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested.” , contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention in keeping schools safe. “
Physical distancing should be practiced in schools where not everyone is vaccinated, he said, but students should not be excluded from in-person learning in order to maintain physical distance.
Anyone with symptoms that may be due to Covid-19 or the flu should get tested and stay home if sick. The guidelines say unvaccinated people who have been exposed to Covid-19 should self-quarantine, but fully vaccinated people who do not show symptoms do not need to quarantine or get tested after a exposure to a person with Covid-19.
The cohort – keeping people in small groups who stay together throughout the day – can be helpful in limiting contact, but it is not a substitute for other key safety measures, according to the agency. It is not recommended to group vaccinated and unvaccinated people separately.
The agency advises close monitoring of Covid-19 transmission, vaccine coverage, drug testing and outbreaks when making decisions about necessary prevention strategies in their region.
During a White House briefing on Covid-19 on Friday, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky sounded the alarm on “new and worrying trends” in cases and hospitalizations in areas to low vaccination rate.
“Simply put, in areas with low immunization coverage, cases and hospitalizations are on the rise,” Walensky said. “Additionally, we are seeing small clusters and larger outbreaks of Covid-19 in places such as camps and community events where proper and hard-learned prevention strategies are not being applied and where the virus is easily capable of prosper. “