What are the CDC guidelines for students in K-12 schools?

THE Center for Disease Control and Prevention is back-peddling on their masking recommendations for vaccinated Americans.

The changes come as states across the nation continue to see a surge in Covid cases due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.

What are the CDC guidelines for students in K-12 schools?

The public health agency recommended schools embrace universal masks, departing from guidance released earlier this month that suggested vaccinated students and staff were safe to go without.

"CDC recommends localities encourage universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status," the CDC wrote in a summary of the new guidance.

"Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with proper prevention strategies are in place."

The guidance is only a recommendation, leaving the final call up to state and local officials.

Several cities and towns, including Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Savannah, Georgia, have already reinstated masking rules.

In May, the CDC announced that all vaccinated Americans were safe to go without a mask indoors or in a crowd.

The CDC recommendations noted that individuals and schools could still opt to wear a mask even if fully vaccinated but said the risk of illness and transmission was low.

What are the new CDC guidelines for vaccinated people?

On July 27, the agency announced that even vaccinated people should wear face coverings again in parts of the United States due to a rise in Covid-19 infections stemming from new mutations.

"We continue to strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated," Dr Walensky said before explaining the new guidelines.

The doctor went on to say that those "in areas with substantial and high transmissions" should wear masks indoors – whether or not they are vaccinated.

As it stands, the guidelines still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, trains, planes, prisons, and homeless shelters.

Americans were advised that they will still need to follow regulations implemented by different local businesses and in various workplaces.

What is the delta variant?

The Delta Covid variant first seen in India is now dominant in the UK – and represents more than half of new Covid infections in the US.

There is no evidence that symptoms of the delta variant are any different from the original ones.

The CDC said that the risk of severe illness from Covid remains low for Americans who are fully vaccinated, and the vast majority of people hospitalized with Covid-19 are still unvaccinated.

"In rare occasions, some vaccinated people can get delta in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious," the CDC said.

As of July, the delta variant represents 83 percent of all infections in the US.

Those with only one dose of the jab have only around 33 percent protection against Delta – although the risk of severe disease or hospitalization is much reduced.

And those with no jab – the large majority of under 30s – have zero immunity against it.

Currently, people who are not vaccinated account for around 99.5 percent of Covid-19 deaths and 97 percent of hospitalizations, officials said.

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