SEATTLE — An update on the federal guidance over wearing masks in schools has some parents in Washington concerned ahead of the upcoming school year. State health officials say they're currently reviewing the new update.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the changes to its comprehensive guidance for COVID-19 prevention at K-12 schools on Friday, which includes maintaining three feet of distancing if possible, and that vaccinated students and staff are not required to wear masks in school buildings.
"Until we know more about how long vaccine immunity lasts, let's just keep wearing the mask," said Jessica Bora, a mother of a son who attends school in the Lake Washington School District.
Bora and her son, who is to be a sixth grader this fall, have been vocal about reopening safely, even participating in a rally in Redmond back in March.
What concerns Bora this time, is the uncertainty over whether booster shots will be necessary to maintain immunity over the coronavirus.
"I think until researchers can answer this question, it's a good idea to continue wearing masks in the classroom, especially if it prevents another shut down," Bora said.
The CDC update is a guidance only and not a requirement for local school districts.
In Washington, spokespersons from Seattle Public Schools and the Lake Washington School District said they will adhere to mask and COVID-19 prevention guidelines laid out by the Washington Department of Health (DOH).
The latest guidance from the DOH on July 6 states that all school staff, students and visitors must wear a cloth face covering when indoors, regardless of vaccination status. However, fully vaccinated staff do not need to wear a mask indoors if children under 18 are not present. Moreover, masks are not required outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, according to the DOH guideline.
A spokesperson from the DOH said they are evaluating the new CDC guidance and will have more to share in the coming weeks.