CDC Outlines New Guidelines For Reopening K-12 Schools Safely

The CDC has outlined new guidelines on reopening K-12 schools safely. It comes as many students in our area have not physically been in a classroom in nearly a year; CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports.

Video Transcript

- The CDC has outlined some new guidelines on reopening K through 12 schools safely. And it comes as many students in our area have not physically been in a classroom in nearly a year. CBS 2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas explains.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: From five days of in-person learning to fully remote, it's been a mixed bag for students across the area. Now, some guidance from the CDC on how to safely reopen schools based on COVID infection rates in different communities.

ROCHELLE WALENKSY: CDC is not mandating that schools reopen. These recommendations simply provide schools a long-needed road map.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Blue and yellow zones, with low to moderate transmission, are recommended for full in-person instruction. In orange zones, with substantial transmission, middle and high schools move to hybrid learning. In red zones, like many in our area, with high transmission rates, elementary students are recommended for hybrid learning, with middle and high schools going fully remote.

ROCHELLE WALENKSY: In-person learning in schools has not been associated with substantial community transmission.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Schools are urged to prioritize wearing masks and physical distancing, along with hand washing, cleaning the facility, and contact tracing, with isolation and quarantine. Improving ventilation, and COVID testing are helpful but not central to the plan. Neither is vaccinating teachers.

ROCHELLE WALENKSY: The science has demonstrated that schools can be reopened safely prior to all teachers being vaccinated.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: The guidelines closely resemble what's already being done in New York City Public Schools.

- I don't know what they could possibly tell me to send my daughter back to school.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Still some parents are not convinced and will stick to remote learning.

- Well, we want to make sure that everyone is safe. And it feels safe at home right now.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: New York City's Department of Education sees the CDC guidelines as validation, highlighting the weekly infection rate inside schools is less than 1%. And middle schools will reopen later this month. Aundrea Cline-Thomas, CBS 2 News.