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CDC release new guidelines for in-person learning this fall

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 7:02 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Returning to school and returning to normal: today the CDC released new guidelines for the upcoming school year.

Summer is wrapping up and we are just weeks away from kids going back to school. And the CDC wants everyone back in the classroom this fall, vaccinated or not.

Pima County School Superintendent Dustin Williams says he is “still very concerned with COVID and the pandemic.”

“It’s by no means is it gone. We need to follow every safety precaution we can and recommend masks as much as possible going forward,” he said.

The CDC says fully vaccinated staff and students do not need to wear masks at school. For those who are unvaccinated, the CDC still suggests wearing a mask and distancing when possible. The public health agency is not asking schools to require COVID-19 vaccines for teachers and students 12 years and older.

Williams says schools won’t require proof of vaccination or masks.

“We have had some phone calls coming in the office with concerned parents about masks, and we just want everyone to know that it’s still an opportunity at schools. It’s not that you don’t have to wear them. It’s just an option now,” he said.

Last school year was a struggle for many with going back and forth between virtual and in-person learning. The CDC says students will benefit more from in-person learning.

Alexes Uhra, a student, is excited to return to class in the fall.

″Good, it’s way better because you get to do way more and it’s way better for learning because I learn a lot more. It’s easier,” she explained.

Brenda Scmidt, a Pima County parent thinks this is a step in the right directions. She says, “I think it will be great. I think this year was very challenging for a lot of parents and a lot of kids.”

Some parents aren’t so sure about the return to the classroom when so few students are eligible to be vaccinated.

Travis Klein is a parent and former teacher. It only works, he says, if teachers and kids are actually vaccinated.

“Just asking them, it’s not going to work,” he said. “And in my opinion, it’s just super ridiculous.”

And though the summer is coming to a close, there are still things many students are looking forward to this fall.

Lily Schmidt, an elementary student says, “I’m really excited to see my friends cause a lot of them I’ve known for a long time. And we didn’t really get to see any of them last year.”

Vaccinated or not, the CDC still requires masks on public transportation, meaning students and staff would still need to mask up on school buses.

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