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CDC To Recommend Students, Faculty Wear Masks This Fall

Guidance urges adults in high-transmission areas to mask up indoors, regardless of vaccination status

CDC director Rochelle Walensky / Twitter screenshot
• July 27, 2021 3:00 pm

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will recommend that all K-12 students and faculty wear masks upon returning to school in the fall, regardless of their vaccination status.

The government’s top health officials will announce the mask guidance at a 3 p.m. meeting, a source told CNN on Tuesday. The CDC cites the spread of the Delta variant, a strain of the coronavirus that originated in India, as the reason for their decision, according to the Washington Post.

Teachers' unions largely opposed reopening schools for in-person learning during the 2020-2021 school year, contradicting scientific evidence that showed it was safe to do so. CDC director Rochelle Walensky caught flack this spring after the New York Post uncovered communications between CDC officials, the White House, and leaders of the American Federation of Teachers. After phone calls with American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, Walensky walked back the CDC’s school reopening plan and included wording in the CDC document that union officials had recommended.

A January CDC study found that coronavirus outbreaks in elementary schools have been "rarely reported." A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that transmission in schools is "extremely rare." And while unions rallied to keep schools closed, remote learning disproportionately harmed black and Hispanic students—widening racial disparities in education.