The nation’s two largest teachers’ associations have praised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new coronavirus guidelines for schools, saying it offers a “roadmap” for returning to normal, even though some states are taking a different route.
The CDC announced Friday that schools can go without masks indoors as long as students are fully vaccinated. The agency also recommended that schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms to reduce the risk of transfer.
However, the guide is only a recommendation. Some states have dropped mask mandates, such as Rhode Island, which did so in late June, according to USA Today.
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The unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, praised the CDC decision as “founded on both science and common sense,”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said masking in the past posed a difficult problem for teachers as the student population was a mix of vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals.
NEA President Becky Pringle called the guidance “an important roadmap for reducing the risk of COVID-19 in schools,” Newsweek reported.
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“There is no substitute for personal learning and we look forward to all students returning to school in the fall,” Pringle said in a statement.
Both groups urged students who are eligible to receive the vaccine as soon as they can so that schools can stay ahead of the rapidly spreading Delta variant.
“This is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and each other and especially to protect those who have not yet been vaccinated, including children under 12,” Pringle added.
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However, California issued immediate counter-guidance and imposed masks in the fall for both teachers and students.
“Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full personal instruction,” said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly.
“At the start of the new year, students should be able to enter school without worrying about whether they will feel different or designated to be vaccinated or unvaccinated – treating all children equally will support a calm and supportive school environment, “he said. said.
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The emphasis on physical distance is the sticking point for California: Not all schools and districts can meet physical distance requirements, so they will comply with more restrictive measures at the moment.