On July 9, 2021 the CDC updated its guidance for schools, saying that only individuals who are not fully vaccinated need to wear masks while indoors and directed all schools to reopen, even in areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is elevated. Additionally, in general people do not need to wear masks when outdoors (i.e., participating in outdoor play, recess, and physical education activities). Where the needs of the community so require, however, the guidelines do allow school administrators to opt to make mask use universally required, regardless of vaccination status.
According to the CDC, reasons can include:
- Having a student population that is not yet eligible for vaccination (i.e., schools with grades prekindergarten – 6).
- Increasing or substantially high COVID-19 transmission within the school or surrounding area.
- Increasing community transmission of a variant that is spread easily among children or adolescents.
- Lacking a system to monitor the vaccine status of students and/or teachers and staff.
- Difficulty monitoring or enforcing mask policies that are not universal.
- Awareness of low vaccination uptake within the student, family, or teacher/staff population or within the community.
- Responding to community input that many teachers, staff, parents, or students would not participate via in-person learning if mask use is not universal.
This update is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.