The CDC has relaxed its mask mandates much sooner than many of us expected. In my area, I still see a “masks required for unvaccinated customers” sign in front of most business, but the amount of masks on people is starting to dwindle. However, since vaccines are widely available, the CDC is working under the impression that folks are not only getting the recommended dosage, but they’re being up front about their vaccinated status. So, the CDC said it’s fine to drop the masks. And now they are saying it to our kids, which scares the heck out of me. The CDC said that vaccinated students and teachers do not have to wear masks this fall when schools go back into full classroom session. The reason is due to vaccines available for kids 12 and up, and maybe as young as six months soon. It does not seem to take into account that not everyone is vaccinating their kids. People has more on the CDC’s decision.
With COVID-19 vaccines now readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are loosening its guidelines on masks ahead of the start of the upcoming school year.
The CDC now recommends that masks only need to be worn indoors by people aged 2 and older who have not been fully vaccinated. The announcement mirrored a similar easing of restrictions back in May, when the CDC said that fully vaccinated Americans could safely go without masks in most indoor and outdoor places.
As of Sunday, 159.3 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated, nearly half of the total population. Kids aged 12 and up are currently eligible for vaccination, and according to NPR, so far 1 in 3 children have received the vaccine.
“Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports,” the CDC wrote in their updated guidelines, continuing to encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.
Additionally, the CDC also recommends “at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms” and that proper ventilation, handwashing and cleaning should also be prioritized. They also advised that all students and staff who are sick should be encouraged to stay home.
My question: does anyone at the CDC have kids? Social distancing and directional foot traffic flow has been their plan since they first started putting kids back in school during the pandemic. The day school reopened, one of my son’s friends ran across the courtyard and full-on bear hugged him – social distancing be damned. Kids in large groups have no interest in staying away from each other, regardless of the rules. That cannot be the safety plan. But they will wear masks. So why are we relying on what won’t happen instead of what will? Once again, the CDC made this suggestion for students who were fully vaccinated. Fortunately, schools can insist on vaccination records. However, since most school are not supporting a hybrid learning plan, the only option for unvaccinated students is to attend school with everyone else. Those poor teachers. I get how their job will be easier if they don’t wear masks, but I would be terrified to look out on a sea of unmasked faces at this point. Especially during cold/flu season, wondering what strand they’re bringing in my classroom. I saw that the CDC recommends students should stay home if they aren’t feeling well. But a harried parent can convince themselves their kid just has allergies if they don’t have a babysitter. I’m sure the CDC is still taking this all seriously. They don’t’ sound like it, though, and that is why so many others aren’t either. I don’t want to spread panic, but I do think it’s too soon to let all our guards down.
The good news is that states can still makes their own decisions on this. Soon after the CDC’s relaxed mask mandate came out, California announced that they would require masks in the fall. They don’t want to take any chances. And that’s with the stupid recall election Gov. Newsom has to face in September. I’m sure the recall folks will make mask wearing an issue but I’m proud to be in a state committed to trying to keep us safe.
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