CDC: Schools should stay open this fall, even where cases are rising

K-12 schools should stay open this fall with some precautions in place because students benefit from in-person learning, according to updated July 9 guidance from the CDC. 

Five things to know: 

1. Teachers and students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don't need to wear masks at schools, according to the CDC guidance.

2. Unvaccinated adults, along with children who aren't eligible to be vaccinated yet, should continue to wear masks.

3. Students should keep learning 3 feet apart. When that isn't possible, in-person learning should still take place but in conjunction with other precautions like ventilation and cleaning. 

4. Even in regions where cases are rising, all students and teachers should continue to meet in person and unvaccinated individuals should be tested weekly. 

5. The guidelines leave room for schools to make decisions based on the level of risk in their community, Erin Sauber-Schatz, PhD, lead for the CDC's Community Interventions and Critical Populations Task Force, told The Washington Post. Schools that cannot determine vaccination status can choose to apply mask rules and other mitigation measures for everyone, said Dr. Sauber-Schatz.

Currently, the FDA has authorized only one vaccine for use in children, as it expanded Pfizer's emergency use authorization to include people age 12 and older. Click here for updates on how pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trials are going for the three drugmakers with vaccines that have earned the FDA's emergency use authorization.


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