CDC Issues New Guidance For Schools To Safely Reopen

By Bill Galluccio

February 12, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for schools to safely reopen. The CDC said that all schools should enact mandatory universal mask policies, promote proper hygiene, and ensure that all facilities are properly cleaned and disinfected. Schools should also have contact tracing programs in place and a process to test and isolate any individuals who may have symptoms of COVID-19.

"Expecting and planning for the occurrence of one or more cases of COVID-19 in schools can help schools respond immediately to mitigate the impact, minimize spread within schools, and allow the school to remain open for in-person learning. When mitigation strategies are consistently and correctly used, the risk of spread within the school environment is decreased," the CDC wrote.

The agency also created a color-coated system based on the transmission rate of COVID-19. Low transmission is blue, moderate transmission is yellow, substantial transmission is orange, and high transmission is red. Under the plan, all K-12 schools that are classified as blue or yellow will be open for in-person instructions. Sports and other extracurricular activities will be allowed.

In areas classified as orange, K-12 schools will operate on a hybrid model to maximize social distancing in the classroom. Sports and other extracurricular activities will only be allowed if they can be held outdoors.

In areas that are classified as red, elementary schools will operate on a hybrid model, but all middle and high schools will be virtual-only. Sports and other extracurricular activities will also have to be done virtually.

The CDC said that teachers and school staff do not need to be vaccinated to safely reopened schools but urged states to prioritize them for the vaccines.

"Access to vaccination should nevertheless not be considered a condition for reopening schools for in-person instruction. Even after teachers and staff are vaccinated, schools need to continue mitigation measures for the foreseeable future, including requiring masks in schools and physical distancing," the CDC said.

Photo: Getty Images

Advertise With Us
Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.