CDC Issues Updated K-12 Schools Guidance, CDPH Anticipated to Issue California’s Early Next Week

Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools nationwide. The long-anticipated guidance will inform education planning activities ahead of this coming fall, and the CDC’s updated guidance prioritizes returning students to in-person instruction.

Under the updated guidance, the CDC encourages a multi-layer strategy for preventing COVID-19 transmission in school settings. Per the CDC, masks should be worn indoors by all individuals ages two and older who are not fully vaccinated. The CDC also recommends schools maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by unvaccinated individuals, to reduce transmission risk. The updated guidance also provides information on screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, and isolation and quarantine recommendations. The CDC also indicates localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies.

Shortly after the release of the CDC guidance, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement indicating California shares the CDC’s priority for in-person instruction for students, as well as the use of multiple mitigation strategies. CDPH acknowledges that requiring physical distancing of is not feasible for many of California’s school facilities due to space constraints. As such, CDPH will take a similar approach to the CDC by recommending multiple prevention strategies and layers, including continuing to require that masks be worn indoors in school settings regardless of vaccination status and making available testing resources at no costs to schools. CDPH is anticipated to release its updated school guidance in full on Monday, July 12.

The full CDC schools guidance is available here.