CDC releases new guidance on masks in the classroom

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 5:26 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Students go back to school in about a month and there are still many questions about what COVID-19 protocols will look like. On July 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance on masks in the classroom.

During the pandemic, CDC directives have helped influence school safety decisions. They say schools can remove some protocols based on local conditions. fully vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks at school.

The CDC suggests removing prevention strategies one at a time, so it can be easily monitored if virus cases increase. They say schools need to remain transparent with families, staff and the community about the process and take steps to promote vaccinations for staff and students over 12.

However, they say vaccinated students and teachers don’t need to wear a mask.

In May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott prohibited public schools from requiring masks. In Louisiana, there is still a wait to see what guidance comes in the fall.

While the State Department of Education has not issued any mask guidelines, some health officials in northwest Louisiana hope schools keep their COVID mitigations in place, including masks.

“A year ago when we were thinking about going back to school, which Louisiana did successfully, our success was because we were adamant and strict about those mitigation strategies. And so their guidance is important and should be taken to heart. Especially for younger kids who are not vaccinated and won’t be for another six months,” said Dr. John Vanchiere with LSU Health Shreveport.

At this point, the Pfizer vaccine is the only shot approved for kids 12 and older. Moderna is currently working on getting their shot approved for kids. This may happen before the fall.

“So for kids in school, we know now for the past two months 25 percent of new infections have been in school aged children, so we are seeing a lot more virus activity in school age kids. We know that the vaccines are extremely effective in preventing hospitalizations and death. I just remind people that the vaccines and all of these strategies are about saving lives,” said Dr. Vanchiere.

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