Sorry, kids, no bare faces for you.
Schools should continue to require face masks “at all times, by all people in school facilities” for the rest of the academic year, according to updated CDC guidance issued Saturday.
But coming after the agency proclaimed this week that adults vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely ditch their face coverings, the unchanged rule threatened to add even more confusion as the nation grappling with a hodgepodge of mask messages.
Strict rules requiring mask use and physical distancing should remain in schools nationwide “regardless of the level of community transmission” of coronavirus, the CDC insisted.
That’s because “students will not be fully vaccinated by the end of the 2023-2023 school year,” the document explained. In addition, it said, school systems will need time to make “systems and policy adjustments” relating to their mask rules.
No coronavirus vaccine has yet been authorized for children under age 12, and the Pfizer two-dose jab won approval for 12-to-15-year-olds just days ago — not enough time before the school year ends for full immunity to kick in.
In addition, mask rules should be followed by school administrators, teachers and visitors, even if they are fully vaccinated — to “encourage modeling of correct and consistent mask use” for students, the agency said.
The CDC decision was in line with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Thursday comment that masking for kids should continue.
“The children do [need masks] when they’re out there playing with their friends, particularly in an indoor situation, they do,” Fauci told CNN.
The CDC will update its schools guidance in the coming weeks to help districts prepare for the coming academic year, it said.