CDC Now Recommends Universal Mask Use in Schools

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines on face coverings this week in the wake of the rapidly spreading Delta variant. As part of the change, the agency now recommends universal indoor masking in schools for all teachers, staff, and students, regardless of vaccination status

The new guidelines undermine one of the central arguments by two parent groups who are suing the state over its K-12 face covering mandate. The suit argued that universal face coverings in schools were at odds with recommendations from the CDC.

The CDC's shifting positions have caused some confusion and frustration among members of the public. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky explained the reversal this way

“When we released our school guidance on July 9, we had less Delta variant in this country, we had fewer cases in this country, and importantly, we were really hopeful that we would have more people vaccinated, especially in the demographic between 12 to 17 years old.

"Next week, we have many school systems that are starting around the country, and I think we all agree that children 11 or less are not going to be able to be vaccinated. With only 30% of kids between 12 and 17 fully vaccinated now, more cases in this country, and a real effort to try and make sure that our kids can safely get back to full in person learning in the fall, we're recommending that everybody wear masks right now."