CDC: Schools should require masks until end of school year

Published: May. 15, 2021 at 11:40 PM HST
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(Gray News) - Because not all students will be fully vaccinated by the end of the current academic year, schools should continue to utilize universal masking and social distancing, experts say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidance Saturday for K-12 schools. It recommends that schools continue to use COVID-19 prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year.

The recommendation is aimed at providing safe in-person instruction and includes the use of face masks and social distancing.

Many schools that have used these prevention strategies have been able to reopen and stay open for in-person learning, according to the CDC.

The CDC decided on continued prevention strategies because children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination. In addition, though children between ages 12 and 15 recently became eligible for vaccination, most will not be considered fully vaccinated – two weeks after their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – before the end of the current school year.

The updated school guidelines were released after the CDC said Thursday that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, expect under certain circumstances.

That guidance raised questions for schools about how to proceed with prevention strategies.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. CNN contributed to this report.