The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to update guidelines for controlling Covid-19 in the community, including schools, in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the plan.
A review of the plans obtained by CNN shows that the updated guidelines are expected to ease quarantine recommendations for people exposed to the virus and reduce social distancing of 6 feet.
The agency should also de-emphasize regular screening tests for Covid-19 in schools as a way to monitor the spread of the virus, according to sources who were briefed on the agency’s plans but were not authorized to speak to a reporter. Instead, it says it may be more useful to base testing on the community level for Covid-19 and whether there are higher-risk settings, such as nursing homes or prisons.
The changes, which could be made public as early as this week, have been shared with educators and public health officials. They are still under consideration and not final.
In a statement, CNN said, “CDC always evaluates our guidelines as the science changes and will update the public when that happens.
As part of the planned changes, the CDC will also soon remove the recommendation that students with Covid-19 get tested regularly to stay in the classroom. A strategy called “trying to stay“, the agency recommended in December, during the first wave of Omicron, that unvaccinated children who were exposed but had no symptoms be kept in the classroom rather than quarantined at home.
One source said the pre-retention test is resource-intensive for schools, and some districts have expressed concern about having enough money to continue.
The agency will no longer recommend keeping at least 6 feet away from other people as a safety measure inside and outside of schools. Instead, the new guidelines aim to help people understand which environmental conditions are more risky than others due to things like poor ventilation, crowds and personal characteristics like age and underlying health.
The CDC is also committed to easing quarantine requirements for people who are unvaccinated or who have not updated their COVID-19 vaccines. The agency currently recommends that people who do not have up-to-date vaccinations stay home for at least five days after close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. In the future, they won’t need to stay at home, but should wear a mask and get tested at least five days after exposure.
The agency is expected to say that people with Covid-19 should self-isolate.
The agency also plans to re-emphasise the importance of building ventilation as a way to help stop the spread of many respiratory diseases, not just Covid-19. She plans to encourage schools to do more cleaning and freshen the indoor air.
Sources say the improvements reflect both a changing public attitude toward the pandemic — many Americans have stopped wearing masks or practiced social distancing — and a high baseline level of immunity in the population. A blood sample check shows that in December 95% of Americans have been exposed to or vaccinated against Covid-19, reducing the chance of getting seriously ill or dying if they get it again.
CDC recommendations are not legally binding. Many cities, states and school districts will review them, but may end up with different strategies.
One example is masks in schools.
More than 200 million people – about 60% of the total population – live in a county with “high COVID-19”. at the community level,” where the CDC warns of risks to the health care system and recommends universal indoor masking.
However, most schools have left masks optional for students this year. Among the top 500 K-12 school districts by enrollment, about 98% do not require masks, according to the data company. Burby School Politics Observer.
However, the agency’s guidelines remain important as a reference point. When cities or states try to exceed the CDC’s recommendations, they can face pushback.