While thousands of teachers and students have returned to in-person learning, the number of school infection cases have risen amidst the still ongoing pandemic. Yet most new cases are occurring in places where there are low vaccination rates, and where wearing masks is not mandated.
Last Friday, new CDC Head, Director Rochelle Walensky reported in the White House coronavirus briefing that in their monitoring of several school districts including the country’s 30 largest districts, only 66% require mask-wearing, while only 68% have contact-tracing protocols in place. Even worse is that only 10% require vaccinations from school staff, while only 18% impose testing requirements.
According to the new CDC Head, the schools that have been producing new infection cases are those that chose not to implement CDC’s recommendations; including guidance requiring vaccination among teachers and students aged 12 and older.
About Vaccinations for Children Aged 12 or Older
The CDC’s call for vaccination among 12 year olds or older, came as children in the U.S. schools reopened for in-person learning even as the delta variant has become rampant.
Walensky reiterated that there is enough evidence that multi-layered prevention works in preventing coronavirus from spreading in schools. This includes vaccination for everyone eligible, wearing masks for school staff and students, social distancing, proper and adequate ventilation, procedures for testing, and screening. She added that schools should be carrying out as many prevention layers as possible at the same time.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients called it a major milestone that about 50% of those in the 12-17 age groups are already vaccinated and that their number is still growing. Zients asset that this is significant, especially now that children are actually going back to school.