CNN – Wake County Public Schools will rely on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update their classroom policies.
Some schools in Wake County have already relaxed their policies, including using home test kits instead of voluntary on-campus testing. Schools are also not required to send students to COVID-19 isolation rooms separate from school health rooms.
Wake County currently has a mask-optional policy in place. WRAL News is working to find out if that would change this fall.
The CDC is expected to update its guidelines for COVID-19 control in the community, including schools, in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the plan.
A preview of the plans obtained by CNN shows the updated recommendations are expected to relax quarantine recommendations for those exposed to the virus and minimize 6 feet of social distancing.
The agency should also reduce the importance of regular COVID-19 testing in schools as a way to monitor the spread of the virus, according to sources who were briefed on the agency’s plans but were not authorized. to talk to a reporter. Instead, he says it may be more helpful to base testing on community COVID-19 levels and whether settings are higher risk, such as nursing homes or prisons.
The changes, which could be made public as early as this week, were previewed to educators and public health officials. They are still under discussion and are not final.
In a statement to CNN, the agency said, “The CDC is always evaluating our guidance as the science changes and will update the public as it does.”
As part of expected changes, the CDC would also soon remove a recommendation that students exposed to COVID-19 take regular testing to stay in class. The strategy, called “test to stay,” was recommended by the agency in December, during the first wave of Omicron, to keep unvaccinated children who were exposed but did not show symptoms in the classroom at the instead of quarantining them at home.
The test to stay was resource-intensive for schools, and some districts had expressed concerns about having enough money to continue, a source said.
In schools and beyond, the agency will no longer recommend staying at least 6 feet away from other people as a protective measure. Instead, the new guidelines aim to help people understand which types of environments are riskier than others due to factors such as poor ventilation, crowds and personal characteristics such as age and underlying health.
The CDC is also set to relax quarantine requirements for people who are unvaccinated or not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. Currently, the agency recommends that people who are not up to date on their vaccines stay home for at least five days after close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. In the future, they will no longer have to stay at home but will have to wear a mask and test at least five days after exposure.
People with COVID19 should always self-isolate, the agency is expected to say.
The agency also plans to re-emphasize the importance of building ventilation as a way to help stop the spread of many respiratory diseases, not just COVID-19. He plans to encourage schools to do more to clean and freshen their indoor air.
Sources say the adjustments reflect both changing public sentiment toward the pandemic — many Americans have stopped wearing masks or social distancing — and a high level of underlying immunity in the population. Screening of blood samples suggests that in December, 95% of Americans had COVID-19 or were vaccinated against it, reducing the chances of becoming seriously ill or dying if they contract it again .
CDC recommendations are not legally binding. Many cities, states, and school districts will look at them, but ultimately may follow different strategies.
Masks in schools are an example.
More than 200 million people – about 60% of the total population – live in a county with a “high COVID-19 community level” where the CDC warns of a risk of strain on the health system and recommends indoor masking universal.
Still, most schools have kept masks optional for students this year. Of the top 500 K-12 school districts, based on enrollment, about 98% don’t need masks, according to school policy tracking from data firm Burbio.
Still, the agency’s guidance continues to be important as a benchmark. When cities or states attempt to go beyond what the CDC recommends, they may face pushbacks.
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