CDC, DPH release new COVID-19 guidance for schools
(WFSB) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Connecticut Department of Public Health recently issued updated COVID-19 guidelines for schools.
The new guidance includes a few key changes from the previous academic year, such as the dropping of the suggested rule to stand 6 feet apart and the requirement of masks.
Overall, the feeling is more relaxed. The major focus is keeping children in the classroom to learn with their peers.
Channel 3 looked into how Connecticut school districts planned to protect students and staff from the virus during the 2022-2023 school year.
Districts like East Hartford and Glastonbury head back to school next Wednesday.
When it comes to COVID, school officials said they are following the CDC’s guidance, as well as the Department of Public Health.
Districts like Glastonbury said they are hoping their case counts remain low this year.
One of the prevention strategies is vaccination. Schools are hoping the community gets vaccinated, which includes everyone 6-months and older.
On top of that, the new state and federal guidance is all about increasing the time kids are inside the classroom.
Last year if someone had any symptoms, they would have stayed home. Not this year.
Children and staff with mild symptoms such as a runny nose should test at home. If they are negative, then go to school and wear a mask.
Only those with a fever or a positive test result should stay home.
All communities will be monitoring their case count. Schools can still implement a mask policy if the community levels are too high. No county in the state is currently at that level.
“I want to see if kids if they show up in masks that’s great if their parents want that. But I don’t want to see the mandates and the things like that. I think it was a little bit too much,” said Amy Marowka, a mother.
“Yeah, I know that there are going to be kids that are going to be sick around my daughter, so that makes me a little bit nervous,” said Shannen Rodriguez, a mother.
East Hartford also said masks will be optional and it will follow the new guidance.
Dominador Adao said the masks bothered him. His mom said he won’t have to wear them and she’s happy that his school will be mask optional.
“Just like before COVID happened, people were able to go to school with some symptoms,” said Eileen Adao or Rocky Hill, Dominador’s mother. “To me, it’s more important that the kids go back and have a more normal social learning experience. And if they don’t have it and they are not contagious, I would like my kid to be in school.
Other parents said they were concerned for their little ones because they are immunocompromised. Rodriguez said her daughter will keep her mask.
Health officials still stressed those 6 months and older should get vaccinated.
The CDC no longer recommended staying 6 feet away to reduce exposure since many have been vaccinated or had a previous infection which provides some sense of immunity.
“This isn’t 2020. This isn’t 2021. We have to have the guidance reflect people’s risk acclimatization to this virus and all the tools and knowledge that we’ve accumulated since the pandemic began,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja Infectious Disease Doctor and Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Connecticut’s DPH also issued its school guidance, which also focused on increasing the time kids are in school.
“And for people that are immunocompromised, it does make sense for them to wear masks in high-risk situations for lower risk individuals. That may be something that they may or may not want to do, depending upon how much they’re trying to avoid what really is a ubiquitous, unavoidable virus,” Adalja said.
Some districts like Hartford said they are still working on their own guidance based on the state and CDC.
Copyright 2022 WFSB. All rights reserved.