CDC recommends masks for all students and teachers

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended all children, kindergarten through 12th grade, wear masks in school this fall. The same is recommended for teachers and staff, regardless of vaccination status.

Some parents at Houghton Beach Park in Kirkland told KIRO 7 they supported the idea.

“I actually completely support it. My priority is the safety of everybody. And in order to make everybody safe, whatever we need to do, we need to do that,” said Mashiur Rahman, a father of twin boys.

Heather Stratton’s children are vaccinated. “I’m thinking more careful is better, especially with the new variant that’s out. I think it’s fine to wear masks,” said Stratton.

Brian Billones doesn’t think his young children need masks. They attend a private school in Renton. “In my opinion, I don’t think the kids should need to be masked,” said Billones. “I feel we shouldn’t have to go back to masks across the board.”

In elementary schools, masks are already recommended by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The vaccine isn’t expected to be available to children under 12 until late fall or winter. But now the CDC is asking all students, teachers and staff to put on masks — regardless of vaccination status.

“I certainly understand there’s some anxiety around that or just feeling, ‘Aren’t we moving forward?’ That feeling. Gosh, aren’t we moving forward? I think ultimately what we’ve realized with the COVID — the entire time we’ve been dealing with the pandemic is things can change very quickly, and our guidance needs to be nimble and responsive to those changes,” said Dr. Elizabeth Meade, president of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The new guidance eliminates figuring out who is vaccinated and who isn’t. In middle school, half the students are eligible, half aren’t, and only some are vaccinated.

On Tuesday, the CDC also recommended masks be worn in indoor public settings where COVID-19 transmission is high to try and stop the rapidly spreading delta variant.

The new federal guidelines reinforce what eight local health departments urged yesterday — to wear masks indoors in public settings where the vaccination status of others is unknown.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to hold a news conference to discuss masks.