Schools face hurdles following CDC’s new mask guidance for vaccinated students, teachers

SPOKANE, Wash. — The dream for many is to have a normal school year. No masks, no social distancing.

Both of Kimi Clifton’s two middle school students were fine with the masks, there were just times they didn’t care for it.

“Once it got warmer and then you’re working out outside, it made it a little bit harder to breathe with the masks. That was a little bit of a challenge but for the most part they just, they adapted,” she said of her two kids.

Soon, though, they may not have to wear masks at school. The CDC just announced Friday that fully vaccinated students and staff will not have to wear masks or social distance in school.

RELATED: Vaccinated students and teachers don’t need masks in schools, CDC says

However, the CDC knows schools have a few hurdles to go through if they want to make that happen.

“It can be difficult for a school to either document the vaccination status of their students, teachers and staff. And so, in that situation, they might decide to do universal policies. So, they might require everybody to mask. They might require everyone to distance, regardless of the vaccination status,” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, with the CDC.

Another issue they’re facing now: Not every kid is eligible to get vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one allowed to vaccinate kids 12 and older. The timeline for younger kids is still unknown.

“You have the 6th graders that are 12 and can be vaccinated and not wear the masks, and then you have all the younger kids that are seeing that and are like ‘they don’t have to wear masks,'” Clifton pointed out.

Both of Clifton’s kids are vaccinated, but she still thinks it’s too early to lift those restrictions with the Delta variant spreading around.

“You have all these people who are immunocompromised and can’t get the vaccine or they just don’t trust the science enough yet,” she continued. “They’re not vaccinated, so it’s going to spread that variant around and it’s more dangerous than the original. So, kind of worried about it.”

Even then with the CDC releasing the new guidance, the state department of health still needs to approve it as well as the school boards.

If schools decide to take away some COVID-19 prevention measures, the CDC says it’s also best to do it one at a time to make sure there isn’t an increase in cases at school.

Schools have a lot to think about as they figure out the upcoming school year. Plans will be released in the next few months before school starts. It is known that full-time, in-person learning will happen at every school, as the Washington Department of Health announced that a few months ago. Schools will have the option to offer online learning, too.

READ: All Washington schools instructed to provide full-time, in-person learning for upcoming school year