New CDC School Guidance Calls for In-Person Classes, With Caveats

School may be out for summer, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still in session. The agency released updated guidance July 9 that promotes in-person learning when K-12 students return in the fall, and relaxed mask recommendations for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Children and adolescents benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person school in the fall of 2021 is a priority," the July 9 CDC statement reads.

This guidance continues calls for a layered approach to COVID-19 prevention, including the familiar strategies such as proper ventilation, hand hygiene, and staying home if symptomatic or when exposed to someone who likely has COVID-19.  

Masks are still recommended for anyone aged 2 years or older, including students, who is not vaccinated. "While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared with adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, can spread the virus to others, and can have severe outcomes," the CDC statement notes.

The federal agency still calls for at least three feet between student desks — down from the six feet recommended prior to March 2021.

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