As in-person learning becomes a priority in the fall for K-12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 school’s guidance on Friday, July 9.
The main takeaway from the CDC’s announcement is the relaxation of masking guidelines. All teachers and students fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks, while non-vaccinated will still be required to wear masks.
In response to the CDC’s guidelines, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said it would adopt the CDC’s reduced social distancing plan.
However, they will continue to maintain a requirement for face coverings inside K-12 classes regardless of students’ vaccination status “to ensure that all kids are treated the same.”
California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state applauds the CDC’s commitment to ensuring that schools are fully, safely opened for in-person instruction.
Dr. Ghaly said that the state would continue to align with the CDC regarding mitigating strategies, including mandatory indoor mask-wearing and “robust testing.”
The reasoning for continued masking and testing given by the CDPH responds to the CDC’s recommendations to layer multiple prevention strategies if schools can’t maintain 3-foot social distancing.
CDPH said that because many school facilities in California can’t accommodate physical distancing, the state will layer multiple prevention strategies.
“We will align with the CDC by implementing multiple layers of mitigation strategies, including continued masking and robust testing capacity,” Dr. Ghaly said. “Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full in-person instruction.”
In a statement, Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) spokesperson Kelly Avants said that the district is encouraged by the CDC’s forward motion of reducing social distancing and masking recommendations but must continue to follow California’s guidance for schools.
“Today, we are examining the updates from both agencies closely to evaluate their impact on CUSD schools and will continue to keep our community informed,” Avants said.
As CUSD examines the details of both announcements, Avants said that the district would see how they align with the existing practices of the district.
“There’s no substitute for in-person instruction, and today’s CDC guidance clearly reinforces that as a top priority,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the CDPH and state public health officer.
Aragón also stated the CPDH would carefully review the CDC guidance and plans to release the state’s K-12 school guidance on Monday, July 12.