CDC relaxes masking for fully vaccinated teachers, students inside schools

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Masks may not be on every back-to-school checklist list this fall.

In the CDC’s latest guidance for classrooms, fully vaccinated teachers and students can drop the mask inside schools and they don’t have to social distance either.

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Baptist Medical Group Pediatrician Dr. Janet Geiger said the data supports this decision.

She believes this will have a major impact on students especially younger children who are still learning language development.

“They need that not only interpersonal interaction, but they also need to see your facial expression, your mouth movement,” said Dr. Geiger. “I think we are bringing our education to where it needs to be to make up for some lost time.”

The new guidance says masking and social distancing are still recommended for those who aren’t vaccinated.

Causing some potential challenges for elementary and middle schools where most students aren’t eligible for the shot yet.

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“I think the school is just a microcosm of what we see at large in our community because we do have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated adults,” said Geiger.

But there are still some questions.

The CDC isn’t offering guidance for how teachers will know which students are vaccinated and how parents will know which teachers have gotten the shot.

That’s why Memphis Lift member Renee Smith believes everyone should remain masked up.

“Children are social people. They like to touch no matter how we decide social distancing should be,” said Smith.

She said there’s only one thing that will make her feel comfortable dropping mask requirements in school.

“At least until the numbers of vaccines go up,” she said.

Shelby County Schools say they will continue to follow current mask protocols for their summer school and summer learning academics.