Posted on July 21, 2021
By: Lily Crespo Esq.
On July 9, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its 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. Unless you have some MOA that REQUIRES that you follow CDC guidance, this is just a document to provide updated information. If you have agreed to follow all CDC recommendations, it will impact you significantly with regard to masks.
What the guidelines recommend: The guidelines outline numerous strategies that schools can take to help keep students, teachers and staff members safe, including masking, weekly screening testing and social distancing. But the agency also stressed that schools should fully reopen even if they were not able to put in effect all of these measures. The agency also left much of the decision-making up to local officials, urging them to consider community transmission rates, vaccination coverage and other factors.
- The CDC’s guidance lists vaccination as currently being the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it takes into consideration that many children are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination and many children will not be receiving the 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.
- CDC continues to recommend physical distancing.
You will likely have some people question you about whether you are following CDC guidance, or employee groups asking for the District to discuss whether or what health prevention strategies you will be implementing given this new guidance!
As you consider these and other issues, we recommend you speak with your school lawyer or contact Bea, Kevin, Megan, Beth, and Lily by email or at 406-542-1300 to discuss these issues.