The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance on Friday and called on schools to fully reopen in the fall.
The federal health service says this step should be taken even if schools cannot follow all of the recommended steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In its recommendations, the CDC says that masks should be worn indoors by anyone over the age of two — both students and staff — who are not fully vaccinated, and that desks should be spaced three feet apart.
But if social distancing prevents schools from fully reopening, officials could use other strategies, such as regular testing and increased ventilation.
In addition, the CDC said school districts should use data from their local health departments to determine when to tighten or relax public health measures.
“Students benefit from personal learning, and safely returning to personal instruction in the fall of 2021 is a priority,” the agency wrote.
The CDC also encourages schools to promote COVID-19 vaccination by “providing information, encouraging confidence and trust in vaccines, and establishing supportive policies and practices that make vaccinating as convenient and convenient as possible.”
The CDC issued new guidelines Friday calling for K-12 schools to fully reopen in the fall of 2021. Pictured: A kindergarten student at Resurrection Catholic School in Los Angeles, California, February 2021
Recommendations include that all unvaccinated children two years of age and older wear masks and that desks be spaced at least one meter apart (file image)
Children make up 14% of all COVID-19 cases in the US, but only 0.1% of all deaths, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics
Despite the fact that the Indian ‘Delta’ variant continues to spread and no vaccines have been approved for children under 12, many health officials said the guidance is the right decision.
While children can contract COVID-19 and pass it on to adults, they are much less likely to become seriously ill and die.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of 18 currently make up 14 percent of all cases and only 0.1 percent of all Covid-related deaths in the US.
Polls suggest parents are 50/50 on vaccinating children with recent CDC report suggesting that 56 percent of parents ages 12 to 17 plan to vaccinate their children.
“For the first time, I really think they hit it on the nose,” said Dr. Benjamin Linas, an infectious disease specialist at Boston University. The New York Times.
‘I think it is scientifically substantiated and correct. I don’t want to send my 11-year-old to school without a mask just yet, because Delta is out there.
“And even if she doesn’t get severe Covid from Delta, I’m not ready to take that risk.”
dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz, a US Public Health Service Commander who helped write the CDC guidelines, told The Times that the recommendations were drafted in May after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for 12 years and older.
It is based on a multi-layered approach, which means that different strategies are used to combat the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.
This includes masks, social distancing, symptom screening, contact tracing, more ventilation, washing hands and ensuring that everyone with symptoms of illness stays at home.
“We know that personal learning is very important for school, for children, for their educational, social and emotional well-being, which is why we really want to get kids back in the classroom,” Sauber-Schatz told The Times.
“Physical distancing is still a recommended strategy…[but not having enough space] children should not be kept out of class in the fall.’
Heath experts also recognize that the counseling helps ease the emotional and economic burden experienced by parents, many of whom have had to stay home to babysit their children.
“This is a big moment,” Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the CDC, told The Times.
“It is also an acknowledgment that there are real costs of keeping children at home, of keeping them out of school, that school is so important for the socialization and development of children and it also provides other support,” including to working parents.