U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC says schools can reopen even if teachers haven't received vaccinations

Feb. 4, 2021
Many teachers are hesitant about returning to in-person instruction until they are vaccinated.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that U.S. schools can safely reopen even if teachers haven’t been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Dr. Rochelle Walensky, citing CDC data showing social distancing and wearing a mask significantly reduce the spread of the virus in school settings, said: “Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools,”

President Joe Biden wants nearly all K-8 schools to reopen for in-person instruction in the first 100 days of his administration.

Teachers are prioritized as “essential workers” under the CDC’s vaccination plans, but many have yet to receive doses amid a supply shortage of vaccines.

So far, the CDC says, less than 2% of Americans have received both doses of a Covid vaccine.

The Biden administration is moving to expand access to Covid-19 vaccines, freeing up more doses for states and beginning to distribute them to retail pharmacies next week.

Some communities maintain that online classes remain the safest option for everyone, but some parents, with backing from politicians and administrators, have complained that their children’s education is suffering from sitting at home in front of their computers and that the isolation is damaging them emotionally.

The CDC said in a recent study that there is little evidence of the virus spreading at schools when precautions are taken, such as masks, distancing and proper ventilation. But many teachers have balked at returning without getting vaccinated first.

In California, teachers unions say they won’t send their members into an unsafe situation. Meanwhile, lawmakers in several states are advancing legislation to require more in-person learning.

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