CDC announces new guidelines on reopening of schools

Biden is on day 24 of his 100-day promise to get most students back to schools.

Published: February 12, 2021 10:36am

Updated: February 12, 2021 2:43pm

New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on the reopening of schools across the country were released on Friday detailing operational plans schools should follow while returning to in-person classes, a goal President Biden pledged to fulfill within his first 100 days in office.

In the phased mitigation plan, the CDC explains that in-person school is not a primary driver of community transmission, suggesting that schools are able to reopen if they 'strictly adhere' to the implementation of hand washing, masking, social distancing, cleaning, ventilation and the steps of contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. Cohorts and staggered scheduling are also recommend to limit contact.

"It is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open, to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services. To enable schools to open safely and remain open, it is important to adopt and consistently implement actions to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2," the guidance says.

After receiving harsh criticism this week for saying if schools only open their doors one day a week they will still be considered open, the White House altered its stance Thursday by saying it will rely on the science from the CDC in making further decisions regarding the reopening of schools. 

Referring similar questions back to the CDC, agency Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky clarified that Biden is aiming for a full reopening of schools with students back five days a week whenever that is safely possible. 

Some students have been learning remotely for nearly a year, and the CDC's latest guidance finally gives the okay for all schools to begin transitioning back to classrooms.

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