CDC Updates Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Kindergarten (K)-12 Schools

From the CDC:

Dear Partners,

We hope that you are doing well and that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. As the 2021-2022 school year approaches, we want to share the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Kindergarten (K)-12 Schools. The updated guidance focuses on helping administrators in K-12 schools, along with state and local health officials, safely support in-person learning as well as sports and other extracurricular activities.

Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.  Promoting COVID-19 vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.  However, as many children are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, the updated guidance emphasizes the prevention strategies most important for in-person learning, regardless of whether schools can implement all the prevention strategies.

CDC continues to recommend that students, teachers, and staff who are not fully vaccinated wear masks indoors, consistent with its overall recommendations for fully vaccinated people. Since many children are not yet eligible for vaccination, the updated guidance emphasizes the COVID-19 prevention strategies most important for in-person learning, such as mask-wearing in schools for students and staff who are not fully vaccinated.

CDC continues to recommend masking and physical distancing. However if school administrators are considering whether and how to remove prevention strategies, they should remove one prevention strategy at a time and students, teachers, and staff should be closely monitored (with adequate testing through the school or community) for any outbreaks or increases in COVID-19 cases.

Outbreaks can and have occurred in K-12 schools. While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared with adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, can spread the virus to others, and can have severe outcomes. This guidance gives schools a flexible, science-based approach to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep students, teachers, and staff healthy and in the classroom.

We encourage you to share this guidance widely with your partners and networks and on your organization’s social media pages. Sample social media messages are included. The updates are based on the latest science in Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs – Updated. We hope you will find this updated guidance useful in your work, and we will continue to share new information and resources as they become available.

Thank you for your continued partnership with CDC.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 Response
Community Interventions and Critical Populations Task Force (CICP TF)
Policy & Partnerships Team
CICPTF Policy Email: eocevent357@cdc.gov

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