California plans to require masks for all students in the fall, despite guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says vaccinated students and teachers do not have to wear them in the middle of proper physical distance.
State health officials said the requirement will allow for full-time personal learning and for all students to be treated equally, whether they are vaccinated or not.
Not all schools are able to accommodate the three-meter social distance that the CDC recommends, said Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly. The CDC’s new guideline states that masks must be worn if social distance cannot be achieved.
CDC SAYS SCHOOLS SHOULD OPEN IN FALL, RECOMMENDS MASKS FOR UVACCINATED
“Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full personal instruction,”
“Treating all children equally will support a calm and supportive school environment.”
Children as young as 12 are now eligible to receive the vaccine, and younger children may be by the end of the year.
The CDC has advised schools against requiring vaccines for teachers and qualified children, according to FOX 11.
“It would be a very strange dynamic, socially, to have some children wearing masks and others not,” said Elizabeth Stuart, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins University, according to the station. “And track it down? Teachers shouldn’t have to keep track of which kids should wear masks.”
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Schools have been shown to be lower transmission centers than elsewhere, FOX 11 reported.
“We welcome the CDC’s commitment to ensuring that schools are fully and safely open to personal instruction,” Ghaly added, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Given California’s scientific approach and the fact that the state’s school facilities cannot accommodate physical distance, we will adapt to the CDC by implementing multiple layers of mitigation strategies, including continued masking and robust testing capabilities.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.