CDC director says agency won't change guidance on schools before end of the academic year because 'most kids' won't be vaccinated

CDC director says agency won't change guidance on schools before end of the academic year because 'most kids' won't be vaccinated
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Rochelle Walenski CDC
Director of the Centers for Disease Control Rochelle Walensky speaking at a White House press briefing on March 1, 2021. White House/YouTube
  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency isn't planning to update its guidance on schools.

  • She said the guidance will remain the same for the rest of the academic year because "most kids" won't be vaccinated.

  • The CDC, however, is working to update its guidance for summer camps, she said.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Sunday the agency's guidance on school openings wouldn't change before the end of the current academic year.

"We've got a lot of questions about schools," Walensky told CNN's Dana Bash during an appearance on "State of the Union." "We will not be changing our guidance for the end of this school year. Most kids will not be vaccinated or fully vaccinated before the end of this year, and we're going to work on updating our school guidance."

In a major decision last week, the CDC dramatically shifted its guidance on wearing face masks in public settings for vaccinated Americans. People who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear face masks in most indoor or outdoor settings, according to the new CDC guidelines.

The US Food and Drug Administration also last week issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12-15.

Current CDC guidance for schools involves the near-constant wearing of face masks for students and staff, except while eating and drinking. The CDC also recommends maintaining a physical distance between students in staff, keeping students and staff either three or six feet depending on the setting.

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Bash also asked whether the CDC planned to update its guidance on summer camps now that children aged 12-15 are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Current CDC guidance recommends children and camp staff wear face masks at nearly at times, except when eating, drinking, swimming, or sleeping.

"So much evolved just in this week," Walensky said, noting that the agency's mask guidelines had been significantly relaxed over the past week and that children over 12 became eligible to get vaccinated.

"So yes, we do have to rapidly update our camp guidance and we're working on that right now," she said.

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